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June 9, 2022 0 Comments

Is it dangerous to travel with medical marijuana?

Traveling anywhere in the state where you got your medical marijuana is legal. But traveling outside your state can get tricky. If you decide to cross state lines, there are some things you should be aware of before you pack your bag (and your legal recommendation).

Traveling with marijuana outside your state

As of June 2022, 38 states have legalized medical marijuana. There are 21 states where medical marijuana is NOT legal, even with a prescription or recommendation from your physician. Marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug under Federal law. So, by crossing state lines into states where marijuana (either medical or recreational) is not legal, you are transporting a federally prohibited substance. This makes you vulnerable to “the gray zone”. Even though in some states marijuana is legal, just crossing state lines with it in your possession is a federal offense.

Some who do make the decision to travel across state lines store their purchase in an airtight container and stash it in the locked glove box of their car. This requires a search warrant from the police to search. Still risky and still illegal. 

And, just because it’s not complicated enough, there are some states that offer “marijuana reciprocity” meaning states that share borders and are both legal may recognize the recommendation or card from the neighboring state. For example, suppose you’re visiting Arkansas and you have a valid out-of-state recommendation, you can legally purchase medical marijuana (provided you fill out a visiting patient form and can provide proof of your out-of-state medical marijuana status. Oklahoma also recognizes other states’ medical marijuana ID cards but a Temporary Patient Application Information form must be completed to legally purchase medical marijuana. In Louisiana, legislation is currently pending in Louisiana, House Bill 135 and House Bill 137, which seek to provide reciprocity for patients within the state’s medical cannabis program.

Flying with marijuana

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) provides some guidelines for air travel. Generally speaking, flying in an airplane with marijuana in your possession is illegal … sort of. According to the TSA, “Marijuana and certain cannabis-infused products including some CBD oil, remain illegal under federal law EXCEPT for products that contain no more than .3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by the FDA.” HOWEVER, TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers. Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana. But, if any substance is discovered during security screening for a safety-related offense, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer. Translation, don’t travel with your knife collection if you’re packing your THC. 

And, if you must take your marijuana with you, pack less than three ounces in your carry-on in a nondescript, airtight container. Edibles are even less likely to raise alerts. Just know that, if you’re caught, TSA is obligated to report it.

Complicating the matter even further, it depends on the airport and state laws where you land. Airports like LaGuardia and John F Kennedy Airports in New York City allow air travel passengers landing at their airports who are over 21 years old to possess up to three ounces of cannabis.

So, traveling with cannabis can be messy and risky but traveling without can be just as risky if it’s used to control seizures or other chronic conditions. But don’t rule out travel just yet.

The Good News

Even though you are taking a risk when traveling with cannabis with over 0.3 percent THC, there’s no reason you can’t purchase it when you arrive at your destination. Marijuana is taking the world by storm and cannabis-friendly hotels, cities, and states are growing more common by the day. 

So, leave your medical marijuana at home and plan with your doctor where to purchase duplicates at your destination. When you’re ready to come home, be prepared to leave the leftovers. Whether you’re driving, flying, or taking the train, planning ahead can save you some serious headaches during your travels.

Some safe havens for medical marijuana

Most casinos and hotels in Louisiana will allow guests who have a recommendation from a physician to partake during their visit. If you’re planning to visit Louisiana, contact The Healing Clinics beforehand and we’ll help you coordinate delivery during your visit so you don’t have to be without your medication but you can avoid the stress of traveling with cannabis across state lines.

Having a medical marijuana recommendation from a physician licensed by the state of Louisiana allows you to use and possess cannabis under certain restrictions, and it is the only method to guarantee you are in compliance with the law. So, even though traveling with cannabis can be risky, it’s still legal to have medical marijuana in your possession while in your state. If you have a medical marijuana recommendation, it means that you have the strongest legal protection if you use medical cannabis.

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