If you’re a medical marijuana patient or trying to become one, you must be aware of the rules of travelling with medical marijuana. The very first thing that you must know is that marijuana, whether recreational or medical, is still federally illegal in all 50 states. Until the whole country (and world, for that matter) gets on board with the medical marijuana movement, travel will remain tricky.
Travelling with Medical Marijuana within the State
Assuming that you’ve followed the laws, and have a valid medical marijuana card for the state that you reside in, you will be fine in that state. Adhere to the prescribed doses, don’t use before or while operating a motor vehicle, don’t sell or share with others, etc… It’s highly recommended that you keep your medical marijuana card on you at all times, along with all of the other paperwork you may need.
Crossing State Lines with Medical Marijuana
Whether you’re walking, bicycling, or driving, this is where it gets risky. Under federal law, if you are caught by a federal law enforcement officer, you can be arrested for drug trafficking. It doesn’t matter whether you have a medical marijuana card. In the eyes of federal officials, marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 drug, along with heroin and cocaine.
If you’re a medical marijuana patient and you choose to travel with your medication, keep the product in the trunk, don’t give law enforcement any reason to pull you over, exercise your right to remain silent, and never consent to a search.
As of June 2018, These 29 states have medical marijuana laws:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
This means that medical and recreational cannabis is still illegal in these 21 states:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
Now, you may be wondering, “what if both states have legalized medical and/or recreational marijuana?” It doesn’t matter. Once you cross state lines, it will be considered a federal offense.
Know the Risks
It is highly recommended that you know the risks associated with travelling across state lines with marijuana. If you are travelling to a state where recreational pot is legal, you should leave your prescription at home and just purchase your marijuana once you’ve reached your destination. These recreational states include:
- Washington, D.C.
- Washington State
Currently, only Michigan, Rhode Island, and Nevada will allow out-of-state cardholders to purchase marijuana.
When it comes to trains, planes, or any other mode of transportation that requires you to go through security, the risks are even higher. Security checkpoints are federal territories. While TSA’s primary goal is to search for terroristic threats, if they find drugs or contraband they will proceed as they would with any other illegal items. This usually means that they would get the local authorities involved. Depending on where you are they could just confiscate it, or potentially arrest you. Again, TSA doesn’t differentiate between medical or recreational marijuana.
Crossing International Boundaries with Medical Marijuana
We highly recommend that you do not try to travel internationally with any form of marijuana. If you must, make sure that you’re aware of the current laws of your destination. Several countries take it very seriously and may very well charge you with international drug trafficking and sentence you to prison time. Know the laws and travel at your own risk. Your best bet is to purchase it once you arrive.
Our hopes are that one day, travelling with medical marijuana will be legal worldwide. Until then, we’ll be forced to work around the laws. Whether you’re planning on staying put, are going to take your chances travelling with medical marijuana, or need medication for when you get home, call us at (786) 224-4005 or schedule your free consultation online, today.
Taking a trip for the holidays? Visiting friends and family? It may be tempting to bring along some marijuana, either for medicinal or recreational purposes. Marijuana is now legal for recreational or medical use in 29 states and Washington D.C., meaning that many holiday travelers will be jumping from one legal state to another. Here in Florida, medical marijuana is legal, but recreational use is still prohibited.
Passengers must remember that it is only legal under state law, and different states recognize different qualifying conditions. The very act of crossing state lines, however, invokes federal regulation, where marijuana is still viewed as an illegal substance. There are, however, policies in place that make it easier to travel with marijuana products in some circumstances.
Let’s get the easiest answer out of the way first: It is absolutely a bad idea to take marijuana on an international flight. U.S. officials can stop and charge someone caught in possession of (any amount) of marijuana with a federal misdemeanor.
TSA and Federal Law
Back in April, the TSA posted on their website that medical marijuana was officially allowed in both checked and carry-on baggage. This announcement lasted roughly 24 hours before it was reversed with a statement that local laws are not relevant to TSA screening. Both medical and recreational marijuana are still illegal under federal law. The announcement also stated, however, that TSA does not search for marijuana.
Ultimately, practices vary by airport. Some will check a ticket to make sure the passenger is legal on both ends, while others will ask the passenger to throw it out. It is a good idea to call the airport in advance if one is not sure about their policy. Orlando Airport, for example, voted in June to ban medical marijuana on airport premises, resulting in confiscation if found.
To learn more about the travel restrictions surrounding marijuana, or medical marijuana in general, visit the Marijuana Doctor at any of our locations today.