How to Smoke Weed Legally in Your Newly Legal State

If your state legalized recreational marijuana in November, you might be eager to get the joints rolling.

But you also might be confused about how to navigate the system and consume cannabis within the new regulatory framework.


There's one main reason that smoking in a newly legal state can be complicated.

Adults 21 and older are allowed to possess, use, and grow marijuana in any of the four states that recently legalized marijuana for recreational purposes.

But the states haven't rolled out license applications for cannabis businesses — meaning you can't go out and buy pot until next year.

Does that mean you have to break one part of the law to smoke weed legally? Not quite.


"Gifting" up to 1 ounce of marijuana is totally fine in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. All of those states already have medical marijuana systems in place, so if you find a caregiver willing to lend you some weed and don't pay them for it, you're in the clear.

Until legal shops open up, however, it remains illegal to buy marijuana on the black market.

OK, so now you've obtained marijuana. What other steps do you have to take to ensure you're not violating any state laws?


Adults 21 and older can possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants.

If you exceed those amounts, you're subject to penalties that vary from state to state.

  • In California, for example, growing more than six plants is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.
  • In Nevada, growing more than 12 plants is a felony offense punishable by one to four years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

Where can you smoke?


It is illegal to smoke weed in public, even in states where the substance has been legalized for recreational purposes.

You also can't smoke in a car, on a boat, at any area where smoking tobacco is banned, or near a school zone.

Basically, you have to smoke in a private residence. There's no way around that.

This guide should help you smoke legally in your newly recreational state, but keep in mind that each state and city has a different set of laws — even if the basic premise of legalization is the same. To ensure that you're in the clear, be sure to consult your local legalization measure.