How Old do You Have to be to Smoke Weed?

United states

Marijuana law is ever-changing in the United States, so it can be hard to remember which states have legalized medical and recreational weed and for whom. Whether you are north, south, east, or west, it is good to know each state's age limit for marijuana use; here's a brief state-by-state breakdown to help you answer the question "How old do you have to be to smoke weed?" no matter where you live.

State-By-State Age Requirements

Alabama

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

Alabama is one of the most conservative states in terms of marijuana law. No matter how old you are, weed is illegal in Alabama. The state boasts hefty penalties for any sort of possession, cultivation, sale, and the like, and penalties will be greater for those under 18 years of age. 

Alaska

Recreational: Legal for ages 21 and older

Medical: Legal for ages 18 and older (or younger with consent)

Both recreational and medical marijuana are legal in the state of Alaska, recreational since 2014 and medical since 1998. You must still be a legal adult to possess and use weed recreationally; medical patients can be any age as long as they have a parent or guardian 21 and older as a consenting caregiver.

Arizona

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for ages 18 and older (or younger with consent)

Motions to legalize recreational marijuana have failed to pass in recent years, but Arizona has a medical program for residents with qualifying conditions. Medical marijuana is legal for those 18 and older, and minors can also become registered patients with a registered adult caregiver.

Arkansas

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for ages 18 and older (or younger with consent)

Since only 2016, medical marijuana has been legal in Arkansas for qualifying patients. You must be at least 18 to be a part of the program, though minors can apply with a registered adult guardian as a caregiver. Following the trends of southern states in the United States, Arkansas is not likely to legalize recreational weed, even for adults, any time soon. 

California

Recreational: Legal for ages 21 and older

Medical: Legal for ages 18 and older (or younger with debilitating illness and consent)

California has always been a progressive leader in the movement of weed legalization across the United States. Both recreational and medical marijuana are legal for adults, and dispensaries can be found throughout the state.

Colorado

Recreational: Legal for ages 21 and older

Medical: Legal for ages 18 and older (or younger with consent)

The Centennial State was the first in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana; they currently sustain extensive recreational and medical programs. Despite its prevalence, however, weed is still highly regulated in Colorado and only legal for adults.

Connecticut

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for ages 18 and older (or younger with debilitating illness and consent)

Recreational weed is illegal in Connecticut for people of all ages, but a medical program was legalized in 2012. Patients must meet all program requirements and be at least at 18 unless they have consent of an adult parent or guardian as a caregiver and the presence of a debilitating illness. 

Delaware

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for ages 18 and older (or younger with debilitating illness and consent)

Possession of non-medical marijuana has been decriminalized slightly for adults, but it remains illegal. Weed has been legal in Delaware for medical purposes since 2011, though it was not until 2015 that the program was fully operational for adults and for youth with restrictions.

Florida

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for ages 18 and older (or younger with consent)

Low-THC marijuana was made legal for medical use in 2014, but the program has since expanded. Even for medical purposes, smoking is illegal in any form in the state. Weed remains illegal recreationally, not matter how old you are.

Georgia

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

Georgia is starting to make slow progress with medical marijuana, but it remains consistent with most other southern states in that no matter how old you are, marijuana is illegal, and you will be penalized if caught.

Hawaii

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for any ages

Medical marijuana has been legal in Hawaii since the turn of the century, and there are no age limits as to who can apply to become a registered medical patient. While recreational weed may be on the horizon for adults in Hawaii, it remains illegal.

Idaho

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

As a neighbor to Washington, where both recreational and medical weed are legal, it may come as a surprise, but Idaho has incredibly harsh marijuana regulations with little prospects of future legalization. Marijuana is illegal for people of all ages in Idaho.

Illinois

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for ages 18 and older (or younger with consent)

Recreational marijuana is illegal for people of all ages in Illinois, and the state's medical program has been running only since 2017. People of all ages may become registered patients, so long as minors have their parents fill out the Medical Cannabis Custodial Parent and Legal Guardian Attestation form and have the patients' medical records certified by two physicians.

Indiana

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

The state of Indiana has only inched toward a potential legalization of medical marijuana, but weed remains illegal for people of all ages, with fairly harsh punishments compared to other states.

Iowa

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for ages 18 and older (or younger with consent)

No matter how old you are, recreational weed is illegal in Iowa. If you are over 18—or you have the consent of a parent or guardian as a registered adult caregiver—a barebones medical program barely functions in the state, and it is highly regulated and limited.

Kansas

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

Adult or no, Colorado's neighbor will punish you for marijuana in any form or use. Legalization does not look promising in the near future.

Kentucky

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

Marijuana is illegal in Kentucky no matter how old you are, plain and simple, be it recreational or medical.

Louisiana

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Newly Legal

Recreational weed is illegal in Louisiana, but the state is currently, as of summer 2018, in the process of implementing a medical marijuana program. This will likely be strictly regulated and follow the example of other states by setting an age limit of 18 or 21 years of age.

Maine

Recreational: Legal for ages 21 and older

Medical: Legal for any ages

Hidden up in the northeast corner of the country, Maine may not be on many people's radars, but the state has both recreational and medical industries for adults.

Maryland

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for ages 18 and older (or younger with consent)

Since 2014, Maryland has had a growing medical marijuana program for adults and for youths with restrictions, but recreational weed remains illegal.

Massachusetts

Recreational: Legal for ages 21 and older

Medical: Legal for any ages

It took until 2016, but recreational weed is legal for adults, and a medical weed program has been implemented since 2012.

Michigan

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for any ages

Regardless of age, Michigan prohibits recreational marijuana. However, the state's medical program has less restrictive age requirements than most others.

Minnesota

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for ages 18 and older (or younger with consent)

Medical patients under 18 must have an adult parent or guardian as their designated caregiver, and this caregiver must be the one to purchase any cannabis products.

Mississippi

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

The only progress the state has seen regards slight decriminalization. Other than that, it is illegal; it does not matter how old you are.

Missouri

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

Marijuana is entirely illegal in Missouri for people of all ages.

Montana

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for any ages (with added restrictions for those under 18)

According to Leafbuyer, "Minors under 18 must receive two separate physician recommendations and have a caregiver (such as the parent or legal guardian) purchase and administer doses. The parent or guardian must provide consent to the treatment in writing and be responsible for all fees associated with caregiver and patient registration."

Nebraska

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

This is another one that is pretty simple: weed is illegal regardless of age.

Nevada

Recreational: Legal for ages 21 and older

Medical: Legal for any ages

Medical marijuana was legalized in 2000, and recreational was legalized in 2016. There are dispensaries across the state for both purposes.

New Hampshire

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for any ages (with added restrictions for those under 18)

Minors in New Hampshire can be registered medical marijuana patients if they have two medical certifications and a registered adult parent or guardian becomes the caregiver.

New Jersey

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for any ages (with added restrictions for those under 18)

The summer of 2018 very nearly brought recreational legalization, but for now only medical weed is legal in New Jersey, with minors eligible to be enrolled by their parents with qualifying conditions and at least three licensed medical certifications.

New Mexico

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for any ages

Colorado's neighbor may follow and legalize recreational weed in the coming months or years, but for now they remain with a flourishing medical program only.

New York

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for any ages (with added restrictions for those under 18)

In 2014, the pilot program for medical cannabis began in New York, but the state has yet to legalize recreational for people of any age.

North Carolina

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

North Carolina is another state that has done little more than decriminalize.

North Dakota

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for any ages (with added restrictions for those under 19)

North Dakota runs contrary to South Dakota, and it's an outlier in its consideration of minors as 19 instead of 18.

Ohio

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for any ages (with added restrictions for those under 18)

Medical weed was legalized in 2016, and though recreational is still illegal for all ages, the state seems to be loosening the reins.

Oklahoma

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

Age is no factor—weed is illegal and punished harshly in Oklahoma.

Oregon

Recreational: Legal for ages 21 and older

Medical: Legal for any ages (with added restrictions for those under 18)

Oregon is another state that has been at the forefront of progressive marijuana law, and both types of weed are legal.

Pennsylvania

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for any ages (with added restrictions for those under 18)

For minors to participate in the medical program, they need additional documents and a background-checked caregiver.

Rhode Island

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Legal for any ages (with added restrictions for those under 18)

Weed for medical use has been legal since 2006, and from the looks of it, Rhode Island is closer than ever to legalizing recreational, as well.

South Carolina

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

While South Carolina has legalized an exceptionally limited low-dose medical marijuana use for some patients, likely adults and consenting adults like other states, both recreational and medical marijuana are illegal in the state.

South Dakota

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

There is no sugar-coating it: marijuana law is pretty tough in South Dakota. There have been small efforts to legalize over the years, but weed remains illegal for people of any age, and it is very easy to land yourself a felony charge if caught.

Tennessee

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

Just like South Dakota, down in Tennessee, all weed is illegal, regardless of age.

Texas

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

Extremely limited medical programs have been introduced to the proud state of Texas, likely for adults or youths with consent like other states. It does remain largely illegal, though.

Utah

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

Youth or adult, marijuana is illegal in Utah. However, there are rumors that the winds could change in the coming months and years.

Vermont

Recreational: Newly legal for ages 21 and older

Medical: Legal for any ages

2004 legislation brought a medical marijuana program to Vermont, and 2018 has brought recreational weed, as well. Things are still developing, but the state's policies are so far more progressive than most.

Virginia

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

Age is irrelevant; marijuana is illegal in Virginia, and punishments remain quite harsh compared to other states across the country.

Washington

Recreational: Legal for ages 21 and older

Medical: Legal for any ages (with added restrictions for those under 18)

Washington state is a pioneer for fully legalized marijuana, and their less restrictive age limits reflect this status.

Washington, D.C.

Recreational: Legal for ages 21 and older

Medical: Legal for ages 18 and older (or younger with consent)

Medical marijuana was legalized in 2010 for people at least 18 years of age. Patients may be younger if written consent is provided by a parent or legal guardian as a registered adult caregiver. In 2014, growth, possession, and use of recreational marijuana was legalized for adults, though the measure does not allow for licensed sale within Washington D.C.

West Virginia

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Newly legal for any ages (with added restrictions for those under 18)

West Virginia just legalized medical marijuana in 2017, and dispensaries are set to open in 2019. There is no age restriction to the medical program, though treatment will vary for minors versus adults. 

Wisconsin

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

Wisconsin is testing out a limited medical program, but it remains illegal overall.

Wyoming

Recreational: Illegal

Medical: Illegal

Closing out the list is Wyoming. Colorado's neighbor does not allow weed for people of any age.