Can I use my medical card in another state to purchase medical marijuana? This is, undoubtedly one of the most frequently asked questions, and rightly so. In this article, we will explore the facts and everything you need to know about the out-of-state use of your medical marijuana card.
Traveling with Marijuana Across State Lines
Should you bring along your stash of medical marijuana when moving across state lines? The answer is a resounding no because doing so is illegal.
Even with its legalization across various states, marijuana is still classed as a Schedule 1 drug under federal law. Transporting marijuana, and any other controlled substance across state lines is a violation of the Controlled Substances Act. Since federal law, always supersedes state law, you will still be in violation even if you are moving between states that have legalized the use of marijuana.
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You will face persecution and any other penalties if you are found to have committed the federal crime of drug trafficking. Depending on the amount of marijuana you will be found transporting across state lines, penalties include jail time and hefty fines.
The only thing that’s left to do is to leave your marijuana at home, and buy more when you get to your destination if you are fortunate enough to be traveling to a state that recognizes and allows the use of out-of-state medical marijuana cards.
Medical marijuana has been proved effective in alleviating pain and other symptoms that accompany a range of acute and chronic conditions, both physical and psychological. Whether you are traveling for work, going on vacation, or visiting with family and friends, you will still need your medical marijuana. Seeing as you cannot travel with your marijuana, the alternative is to get more after crossing the state lines.
Medical Marijuana Reciprocity Explained
Succinctly put, the concept of reciprocity in the context of medical marijuana use, centers on one state’s recognition of a patient’s medical marijuana certification or card from another state. With this in mind, you have some perspective on the question, “Can I use my medical card in another state?”
The short answer is that you can use your card if that state has in place medical marijuana reciprocity laws. These laws provide for the recognition of out-of-state medical marijuana cards, and you should have no trouble getting your medical cannabis from the dispensaries and clinics in these states.
Additionally, as long as you are using or carrying the medical marijuana in accordance with the specific laws of that state, then you don’t have to fret over criminal liability when pulled over by a law enforcement agent for possession.
States that Accept Out-of-State Cards
There is an ongoing discussion in various states about medical marijuana card reciprocity. Here is a comprehensive list of the states that presently accept out-of-state medical cannabis cards from non-permanent residents or visitors
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- Washington DC
The reciprocity laws in some states are more lenient than others. In some states, for example, you may be protected against criminal liability, but may not be allowed to purchase medical marijuana from the state dispensaries.
Do keep in mind that, while the laws in a state may allow you to purchase medical marijuana, it is, in the end, at the dispensary owner’s discretion. To avoid driving all the way to a dispensary and be turned away, it is always best to call in ahead of time and enquire if the dispensary accepts out-of-state medical cannabis cards.
In states where the recreational use of marijuana is legal, you won’t need to show your medical marijuana card. The exception to this, is, of course, if you are not legally allowed to buy recreational marijuana. For example, you will need to show your card if you are below 21 years old, and need to buy marijuana in a recreational-use state where the age limit is 21 years.
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Using Your Out-of-State Medical Marijuana Card
You have a valid medical cannabis card, and the state you are traveling to has reciprocity laws. Buying medical marijuana should be as easy as walking to a dispensary, selecting what you want, and paying for it, right? Wrong! It doesn’t work like that.
You will need to register as a medical marijuana patient in the state to which you are traveling. After registering, you will be issued an out-of-state medical marijuana card. The registration process is fairly straightforward, and all you need to do is fill out an application form and pay the applicable fees. This registration should be done within a given timeframe, usually 60 days before your visit. Once your application is reviewed and approved, you will receive the out-of-state medical marijuana card in electronic format.
Marijuana tourism is on the rise among people who do not have a medical marijuana card. Recreational use of marijuana is legal in the District of Columbia and 11 states. If you don’t have a medical cannabis card, you can travel to any of these states and purchase marijuana as a recreational user.
While the 21 years age-limit is the only requirement you may need to fulfill as a recreational user, you do need to familiarize yourself with the laws governing the use of recreational marijuana in that particular state, as the laws do vary from one state to another.
Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Another State
Alongside, the “Can I use my medical card in another state?” question, “Can I get a medical marijuana card in another state?” is another frequently asked question. The answer to the latter? No, you cannot get a medical cannabis card in another state.
Why this is the case is because the very process of applying for a medical marijuana card requires that you reside in the state in which you are applying and provide proof of this residency. If you are unable to prove that you are a permanent resident of a specific state, then you can rest assured that you will not be issued a medical marijuana card in that state.
Out-of-State Marijuana Use: Best Practices Checklist
- NEVER travel with marijuana across state lines, be it by road, or air.
- Carry your issued out-of-state medical marijuana card, and even the original cannabis card, alongside any other relevant documentation.
- Do your research and understand the state laws on marijuana use in the state to which you are traveling. This includes possession limits of the type of marijuana products you will buy.
- Call ahead to the dispensaries in the visiting state to ascertain if the dispensary accepts out-of-state medical cannabis cards.
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Can I use my medical marijuana card in another state? As outlined above, the answer, is yes, but only in states that have made provisions for this by having in place marijuana reciprocity laws.
To avoid any inconvenience, check the list given to see if the state you are traveling to has these reciprocity laws. To avoid getting into trouble with law enforcement officers while in the visiting state, be sure to take a step further and research the specific state laws that govern the use and possession of marijuana in that state.