Skip to Main Content

Cannabis Law: Introduction

This guide serves as a starting point for legal research regarding cannabis law in the United States, with particular attention to Massachusetts.

Election Updates

2021 state-level enacted recreational marijuana legislation: 


Arizona State FlagNew Jersey State FlagNew Mexico State Flag New York State Flag

South Dakota's 2020 recreational marijuana legislation was declared unconstitutional in February in the circuit court, and is being appealed. The case will be heard on April 28, 2020 (via US News).


Quick Links

Scholar One Search Library catalog

Law Library Homepage

Law Research Databases 

Lexis Access restrictions apply

Westlaw Access restrictions apply

Bloomberg Law Access restrictions apply

Background Reading

Cannabis and its derivatives

Cannabis is the plant genus containing cannabinoids: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabis includes both hemp and marijuana. Hemp is the only legal form of cannabis under federal law, but marijuana use is legal to different extents across the United States and territories. Cannabis derived products containing more than 0.3% THC are classified as marijuana and therefore are illegal under federal law, per the 2018 Farm Bill. 

For more information, access the following secondary sources:

50 State Survey of Marijuana Laws

Denotes to varying levels of legal medical marijuana use in the United States and territories

Marijuana Use by State

From the National Conference of State Legislatures, last accessed 28 April 2021.

Image of States likely to pass recreational marijuana or medical marijuana in 2021

States Where Marijuana Legalization is in Play

from MJBizDaily, last accessed 28 April 2021.

Cannabis Law News and Blogs

Senior Law Librarian: Reference Services

Profile Photo
Law Research Help
Info Desk - 3rd floor Knowles
(617) 373-3332

Chat with us!