In which American states can you now legally smoke marijuana?


Amidst the craziness of Donald Trump becoming president, it's easy to forget that Tuesday was also a big night for marijuana in the US.

As well as voting in the presidential election, nine states also had the chance to decide whether it should be legal for people to smoke weed - for recreational or medicinal reasons.

Here, we take a look at all the questions surrounding this pretty huge decision.

So, what's the deal - which states have now legalised the drug?

graphic showing the states where marijuana has been legalised

California, Massachusetts and Nevada opted to legalise the drug for recreational purposes on Tuesday, following the likes of Colorado, where the drug has been permitted since 2012.

(Marcio Jose Sanchez AP/PA)
Marijuana is now available legally in some form in the majority of states in the US (Marcio Jose Sanchez AP/PA)

Along with the District of Columbia (Washington DC), recreational use of weed is now legal in seven states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. If you're over 21 you can buy the drug from licensed vendors and smoke it at your leisure at home.

The drug is available for medical use in a further 23 states, including Florida and North Dakota, which voted on the new law in Tuesday's ballot.

How does legal marijuana work?

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Different strains of marijuana are displayed during a rally in support of legalisation in San Francisco (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

For those states that have now voted to legalise the drug in its entirety, weed is now legal to buy and sell from licensed dispensaries, but there are limits on how much you can possess at any one time.

For example, in Oregon, the law states:

1. You must be over 21 to buy the drug.

2. Approved dispensaries can sell small amounts to recreational users of legal age.

3. You can possess up to 8oz (22g) of the drug at your private residence, and 1oz (2.8g) outside of it.

4. You can grow up to four marijuana plants at home, out of public view.

5. You can't take marijuana across the border into another state, including Washington (where the drug is also legal).

6. You can use the drug at home, or in a private property.

7. It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana at any time.

Where is it still not legal?

(Marcio Jose Sanchez AP/PA)
There are still several states where the drug is not legal in any form (Marcio Jose Sanchez AP/PA)

Marijuana is now legal in some form, whether for recreational use or for medical purposes, in the majority of states in America.

West Virginia, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho, and Indiana are among the remaining states not to legalise the drug in any form, although the majority of states still only have restricted use of the drug for medical reasons, such as end-of-life care.

What medical use does weed have?

(Ross D. Franklin AP/PA)
Doctors and nurses gather in Arizona to promote the legalisation of marijuana (Ross D. Franklin AP/PA)

For many, using weed isn't about getting high. The use of marijuana for medical purposes has been adopted for a wide range of illnesses and chronic diseases and has a long history of promotion for certain conditions.

In some states, use of the drug is generally restricted to end-of-life care and pain management for serious conditions like cancer, but the drug also has widespread applications for management of symptoms for HIV sufferers, Crohn's disease, muscle seizures and nausea from chemotherapy.

What do people who support legalising cannabis use in the UK think about the decision?

Peter Reynolds from CLEAR
(Peter Reynolds)

For groups who campaign for the legalisation of cannabis in Britain, they strongly believe the Government needs to look to the policies in several US states and take responsibility for the cannabis market.

Peter Reynolds is the president of Clear, a registered political party in the UK which aims to bring about an end to the prohibition of cannabis. He describes the measures decided in the US election as "marvellous news for liberty, health and human rights".

"The USA, unlike Britain, has a functioning democracy where the will of the people prevails rather than the bigotry and self-interest of politicians," he says.

"It is wonderful to see that truth, justice and evidence is winning out over the lies and misinformation we have been fed about cannabis for almost 100 years."

How much is cannabis in the US worth?

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
The sale of marijuana is now among the fastest growing industries in the United States (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

It's not a secret that weed is worth a fair amount of money. In fact - it is worth a lot of money.

The sale of legal marijuana is now thought to be worth an estimated $22bn (£17.6bn) by 2020, making it one of America's fastest growing industries.

Strong opposition to the drug in many areas means that it could still take many years before a widespread move towards full legalisation, or even a gradual transition back into dealing with it as a fully controlled substance.

But for now, many districts are already looking forward to the serious cash injection the emerging industry could mean for the state coffers.