How to Learn about State Cannabis Laws and Licensing Rules

Keeping up with changing cannabis industry news is easy when you read and listen to the right cannabis websites, blogs, newsletters, and podcasts, but what about learning the laws and regulations that are unique to each state? Where do you go to get current cannabis licensing rules?

Fortunately, there are a number of websites that keep updated information about state cannabis laws and rules. That means you don’t necessarily have to visit each state’s regulatory websites and read through pages and pages of legal code to get the information you need. 

Some of the go-to sources for finding the information you need about cannabis laws and licensing rules are shared below.

National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) State-by-State Policies

NCIA has dedicated an entire section of its website to providing timely information about cannabis industry laws across the United States. NCIA’s State-by-State Policies page is easy to navigate with a U.S. map that shows which states have approved cannabis for medical and/or recreational use as well as which states only allow limited use of cannabis (this typically refers to low-THC, CBD-only products).

When you select a state on NCIA’s map, you can click to view more comprehensive details about the state’s legal cannabis program. Most of the information focuses on business laws and licensing rules. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Annual sales volumes (past and projected)
  • Number of dispensaries, manufacturers, cultivators, and testing labs allowed
  • License types
  • Licensing fees
  • Licensee residency requirements
  • Vertical integration rules
  • And more

The data is compiled by NCIA’s employees and comes from sources like BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research - two recognized companies in the cannabis industry.

NORML State Laws

NORML offers a robust State Laws section on its website where laws in all 50 states can be accessed by clicking on each state on the U.S. map. Once you’ve opened a state’s data, you’ll find information about cannabis laws and penalties for individuals, including laws related to possession, cultivation, sale or delivery, hash and concentrates, paraphernalia, and more. Individuals can also find information about state-by-state impaired driving laws, expungement, legalization, medical marijuana, and more.

Some business-related rules can be found in the medical marijuana section for states that have approved medical cannabis programs in operation. This information includes details about:

  • When the state’s medical cannabis law was signed
  • If the state’s medical cannabis program is operational
  • If state licensed dispensaries are allowed
  • If state licensed dispensaries are operational
  • If reciprocity is allowed
  • Estimated number of registered patients
  • Qualifying conditions
  • Caregivers
  • Home cultivation
  • Possession limits

In addition, the medical marijuana information includes source information from various state laws, so you can easily find and read those statutes to learn more.

Marijuana Policy Project

Marijuana Policy Project’s State Policy page includes a map that makes it easy to see which states have legalized different types of cannabis use and possession. States are color-coded to show you which of the following categories they fall in:

  • States with medical marijuana laws
  • States that have removed jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana
  • States that have a medical marijuana law and have removed jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana
  • States where marijuana is legal for adults and is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol; the state also has a medical marijuana law
  • Marijuana is legal for adults (no sales); the state also has a medical marijuana law

Unlike the NCIA and NORML resources discussed above, you won’t find a list of specific rules when you click on a state in the U.S. map on Marijuana Policy Project’s State Policy page. 

Instead, you’ll see a reverse-chronological order series of articles that provide updates on significant regulatory changes affecting that state’s cannabis program. When you scroll down past the articles, you’ll find a list of the state’s cannabis-related bills with brief descriptions and links to view the full bills.

Key Takeaways about Resources for Cannabis Laws and Licensing Rules

There is no single source to get current information on all states’ cannabis laws and licensing rules. Instead, you’ll likely have to use multiple sites and resources to get all of the information you need. However, the three sites above provide great places to start your research.

If you’re looking for information about specific cannabis or hemp license holders in the United States, Canada, or international markets, you can get all of that data and more by subscribing to the Cannabiz Media License Database. Schedule a demo and see how it can help you build your business by connecting with license holders who need the products and services you supply.

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