Your favorite Baltimore Criminal Lawyer is thrilled to have a highly informative and relevant guest post from Vincent Imhoff, Esq. Shortly after he penned this article, Maryland became one of the States which permits Medical Marijuana. However, if you’ve been keeping up with our postings on the Maryland General Assembly session, you know that it’s going to take some time to enact the legislation.
Traveling Between States with Medical Marijuana
Vincent Imhoff is a writer and Los Angeles criminal lawyer who acts as a managing partner at Imhoff & Associates, P.C. He earned his law degree at Chicago-Kent College and his undergraduate degree at Lewis University. When he isn’t writing or practicing, Vincent finds time to ski on his favorite slopes and get some jogging in.
For medical marijuana patients, knowing where you can and can’t go with your prescription medication can be confusing, especially when pertaining to interstate travel. If you’re not careful, traveling into a state that doesn’t recognize the medical use of marijuana or traveling to a state that lacks a reciprocity agreement with other states can get you arrested. To add to the confusion and frustration, since medical marijuana isn’t legal on the federal level, interstate travel can mean federal charges, such as drug trafficking.
If you live, work, and commute in one of the 19 states (see list below) and the District of Colombia, traveling within that state (with the legal prescribed limit) isn’t a problem. But when you need to go elsewhere and your medical marijuana is necessary to relieve symptoms of your condition, your options can be limited or nonexistent depending on the state. According to LawInfo, “Some states honor medical marijuana prescriptions obtained in other states, but this does not provide for transporting marijuana across state lines.”
Adding to the challenge, few states border other states where medical marijuana is legal or possession is decriminalized. Flying with your meds may be out of the question, as well. Since federal law supersedes state law and federal law prohibits the use, cultivation, transportation, and selling of marijuana. The United Patients Group, states that “if you choose to travel by plane with medical marijuana, you risk being detained, arrested and prosecuted under federal law even if the state you are departing from allows you to possess and use marijuana legally.” As such, it can be especially risky for patients to carry their meds on flights, since airports, and by extension, aircraft, are federally regulated zones.
Flying from one state where medical marijuana is legal to another, such as Los Angeles, Calif. to Boston, Mass. is a hazy area, since Transportation Security Administration agents may actively flag marijuana and marijuana-based material and pull you aside for further investigation, which may result in a number of things, from confiscation of your medication to the involvement of local authorities, or it may escalate to federal intervention. This depends on the circumstances, which may depend on the amount of medical marijuana, type, and other associated paraphernalia.
Do research giving yourself ample time before your trip, whether you’re traveling by ground or air. If necessary get in touch with a marijuana crimes lawyer or other marijuana legal expert. On top of that, always carry your valid and fully registered Medical Marijuana Identification Card (MMIC). If you have any questions about the legality of your actions regarding transporting your medicine across state lines, it can be nothing but beneficial to have as many facts, and the law, behind you in the event you find yourself in the eyes of the law, local, state or federal.
States where medical marijuana is legal:
Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Washington DC (and Maryland in 2016).