Ask Cheri

Is My Medical Marijuana Card Valid When I Travel to Other States? 

Dear Cheri,

I am planning on taking an extended road trip across the US in a few months.  Is my medical marijuana card valid in other states?  In other words, will my medical marijuana card from California get me into medical marijuana dispensaries while I am traveling in other states?

Excellent question my wandering friend. 

What we are talking about here is a term called medical marijuana reciprocity, meaning one state honoring another state’s medical marijuana program.  This seems like it would be a logical thing for states to do, but like most things concerning cannabis and lawmakers, logic has nothing to do with it.

The rules vary substantially from state to state.

Some states do have reciprocity with other states, but most require tourists to get a new card which is only valid in that particular state.  This is both costly and a big hassle.  Currently Leafly lists 12 states with “reciprocity” but rather than list them here, I urge you to take my advice at the end of this article and do an internet search just before traveling, because laws change and even those states with “reciprocity” sometimes have some heavy rules and restrictions surrounding it.

For instance, Hawaii’s reciprocity program involves buying a $45 registration card, valid for 2 months, for use in Hawaii only. I don’t know about you, but that’s not how I want to spend my vacation or my vacation money.

Medical marijuana patients visiting Maine can legally use cannabis for the first month that they are there, but they must register with the state after that or to have full access to dispensaries.

In some states, you may be able to bring your own medical marijuana into the state legally, but not necessarily access it in dispensaries which is restricted to state residents. 

However, on a road trip, you need to especially worry about the states you are crossing through, as in many states it will be completely illegal to be transporting cannabis at all. 

Sadly, the internet is filled with horror stories of traveling medical marijuana patients getting into big trouble while passing through illegal states.  In fact, police in some states that neighbor legal states (I am looking at you, neighboring states of Colorado), have been reported to target out of state cars looking for marijuana.  Likewise, you need to be ultra-careful when it comes to traveling through illegal states.

Laws do change, so rather than list states that currently offer reciprocity, my best advice is to do an internet search on the places you plan to visit, soon before you plan to visit them.

Person questioning whether a medical marijuana card from one state will be honored in another.

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