Medical marijuana is legal in an overwhelming 38 states, which means more and more Americans are carrying around medical marijuana cards when they travel.
It is important to know about medical marijuana laws in each state so that you can be vacation-ready this summer. A key aspect of this (and one that people often forget) is knowing which states accept out-of-state marijuana cards and which do not.
The bad news? Finding out what states accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards sounds a lot simpler than it is. The good news? We’ve got you covered.
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Medical marijuana laws: reciprocity
States that recognize the validity of medical marijuana cards from out-of-state visitors practice reciprocity. While there are many states that have legal medical marijuana programs, not all practice reciprocity, and between those that do, terms and conditions vary greatly.
Here are the two main categories of reciprocity and the states that fall within them.
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1. Reciprocity dependent on terms and conditions
A handful of states allow out-of-state visitors to purchase medical marijuana at dispensaries, but only if they have certain health conditions or if the home state authentication and regulation process meets their own state standards. If you plan to visit one of the following states, it’s possible your medical marijuana card will be accepted there, but you will need to check their government website to ensure that your licensing state and/or your condition qualify.
Although not technically a state, this also applies to Puerto Rico.
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2. Reciprocity dependent on additional process
The states that fall under this category follow reciprocity but require either registration, application, or authentication. Some require a fee, while others are free.
Each of the following states has their own specific process, so you will want to check their government websites. Make sure to do so in advance, as some processes take longer than others.
States where recreational marijuana is legal
In states that have legalized recreational cannabis, out-of-state visitors can most of the time purchase marijuana from adult-use dispensaries. However, these same states may not recognize a medical marijuana card from a different state’s program. This is only problematic if your medical marijuana needs cannot be met with recreational cannabis.
States that allow out-of-state visitors to purchase legal cannabis include Alaska, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
Certain states allow visitors to possess limited quantities of medical or non-medical marijuana, but how users can legally obtain it is unclear. States that fall under this strange gray area include Georgia, Iowa, and New Hampshire.
Finally, it’s important to remember that it is technically against federal law to transport marijuana across state lines, regardless of legality in each state. If you are going to consume medical marijuana in a state other than your own, you must purchase it in that state.
If you are a medical marijuana user, knowing the medical marijuana laws for the states you plan to travel is an important part of preparing for your next summer vacation. Doing so will help you avoid disruptions in your supply of medical marijuana and make sure you feel your best while away.
That being said, the marijuana industry is new and ever-evolving. Therefore, it is always important to double-check state websites for up-to-date information on any changes that have been made to their regulations and conditions.