• OMNI Medical

CAN I USE MY MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN STATES WHERE IT’S NOT LEGAL?

By Jessica Walters


Planning a vacation should be fun. However, given rapidly evolving – and often complicated – laws surrounding medical marijuana, many patients feel overwhelmed. Is it okay to use legally purchased medical marijuana in states where it’s not legal? Can you use your medical marijuana card in different states?


STATE VS. FEDERAL LAW

Just like using medical marijuana in residential apartments, traveling with cannabis comes down to federal versus state law. Unfortunately, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug (just like heroin, LSD, and ecstasy) – which means selling, purchasing, and/or possessing the substance is a criminal offense.

Since federal law supersedes state law, this also means that taking cannabis across state lines (even if both states permit medical marijuana use) is illegal.


As attorney Allison Malsbury explains:

From a legal perspective, it’s very cut and dried. In practice, however, it’s very ambiguous. In practice, the chances of feds or the DEA sitting at the border waiting to catch someone – that’s just not happening. It’s not practical or worth their time.

However, Americans for Safe Access reminds patients:

The best law enforcement encounter is the encounter that never occurs.

Keep in mind: Crossing state lines with medical marijuana is still a federal offense.

STATES WHERE RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA IS LEGAL

Fortunately, a number of states allow patients to side-step travel issues by permitting legal access to recreational marijuana. Note: This does not mean that patients can make medical purchases (although a few states accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards).

Here’s a look at states where recreational use is legal (last updated 5/11/21):

ALASKA

Individuals of legal age may purchase recreational marijuana from dispensaries. For more information, see: The Alaska Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office.

Possession Limit: 1 oz. usable; 6 plants (no more than 3 mature)

ARIZONA

Individuals of legal age (21+) may purchase recreational marijuana from dispensaries. For more information, see: The Arizona Department of Health Services: Marijuana.

Possession Limit: 1 oz. usable; 6 plants per person (no more than 12 per residence); 5g of hash/concentrates

CALIFORNIA

Individuals of legal age may purchase recreational marijuana from dispensaries. For more information, see: The California Cannabis Portal.

Possession Limit: 1 oz. usable; 6 plants; 8 g. hash/concentrates

COLORADO

Individuals of legal age may purchase marijuana from dispensaries. For more information, see: Colorado Marijuana.

Possession Limit: 1 oz. usable; 6 plants (no more than 3 mature); 1 oz. hash/concentrates

ILLINOIS

Adults 21 and older are allowed to possess and purchase cannabis effective January 1, 2020. With the governor’s signature, Illinois became the first state to approve legal sales through the state legislature rather than a ballot measure. For more information, see: Overview of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.

Possession Limit: 30 g. usable; 5 g. hash/concentrates

MAINE

Individuals of legal age may use recreational marijuana. Maine also accepts out-of-state medical marijuana cards (discussed in the next section). For more information, see: The Maine Marijuana Legalization Act and Chapter 409 Public Law.

Possession Limit: 2.5 oz. usable; up to 15 plants (no more than 3 mature); 5 g. hash/concentrates

MASSACHUSETTS

Individuals of legal age may purchase recreational marijuana from dispensaries. For more information, see: The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.

Possession Limit: 1 oz. usable; 6 plants; 5 g. concentrates

MICHIGAN

Individuals 21 years and older may purchase recreational marijuana from dispensaries. For more information, see: The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Possession Limit: 2.5 oz usable

MONTANA

Individuals 21 years and older may purchase recreational marijuana from dispensaries. For more information, see: Montana Secretary of State – Ballot Measure 190.

Possession Limit: 1 oz usable

NEVADA

Individuals of legal age may purchase recreational marijuana from dispensaries. Nevada also accepts out-of-state medical marijuana cards (discussed in the next section). For more information, see: Marijuana in Nevada.

Possession Limit: 1 oz. usable; 6 plants; 3.5 g. hash/concentrates

NEW JERSEY

New Jersey passed recreational cannabis legislation that went into effect January 1, 2021, however, until Governor Phil Murphy passes additional “enabling legislation” that outlines the full details of how marijuana can be produced and distributed, the new recreational law remains in limbo. Governor Murphy has promised to pass final legislation on this matter within his first 100 days in office. For more information, see: State of New Jersey: Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 183.

Possession Limit: 6 oz. usable

NEW MEXICO

Individuals of legal age (21+) may begin purchasing recreational marijuana from dispensaries on June 29th, 2021. Commercial sales will officially begin in 2022. For more information, see: HB2: New Mexico Cannabis Regulation Act.

Possession Limit: 2 oz usable; 6 plants per person (no more than 12 per household); 16g hash/concentrates; 800mg edibles

NEW YORK

New York passed Senate Bill S854A on March 31, 2021 which officially legalized recreational marijuana use for adults 21 years and older. For more information, see: New York State Health: Marijuana Program.

Possession Limit: 3 oz usable; 12 plants (with no more than 6 mature plants and 6 immature per residence); 24g hash/concentrates

OREGON

Individuals of legal age may purchase recreational marijuana from dispensaries. For more information, see: Oregon Recreational Marijuana.

Possession Limit: 1 oz. usable in public; 8 oz. home-grown usable at home; 4 plants; 16 oz. solid marijuana-infused, 72 oz. liquid-infused; 1 oz. extract at home of hash/concentrates

SOUTH DAKOTA *

South Dakota residents passed legislation to allow individuals 21 years of age and older to purchase recreational marijuana from dispensaries. Although originally set to go live in July of 2021, on Feb. 8, 2021, a South Dakota judged ruled that Amendment A (which would have legalized recreational marijuana) violated a state rule that constitutional amendments only cover one subject. Governor Kristi Noem is currently working diligently to overturn the amendment. Meanwhile, cannabis advocacy groups are planning to appeal the ruling to the South Dakota Supreme Court.

While the issue is held up in the courts, recreational marijuana will remain illegal in the state. For more information, see: South Dakota: Constitutional Amendment A.

Possession Limit: 1 oz. usable

VERMONT

Individuals of legal age may purchase recreational marijuana from dispensaries. For more information, see: The State of Vermont Marijuana Commission.

Possession Limit: 1 oz. usable; 6 plants (no more than 2 mature); 5 g. hash

VIRGINIA

Recreational possession of marijuana for adults of legal age (21+) will go into effect on July 1, 2021. Commercial sales are set to begin on January 1, 2024. For more information, see: Virginia State: SB 1333 and HB 2218.

Possession Limit: 1 oz. usable; 4 plants

WASHINGTON

Individuals of legal age may purchase recreational marijuana from dispensaries. For more information, see: The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.

Possession Limit: 1 oz. usable; 16 oz. solid marijuana-infused, 72 oz. liquid infused; 7 oz. of concentrates

* WASHINGTON, D.C.

Individuals of legal age may purchase recreational marijuana from dispensaries. For more information, see: The DC Metro Police Department.

Possession Limit: 2 oz. usable; 6 plants, 3 mature

USING AND/OR BUYING MARIJUANA WITH AN OUT-OF-STATE MEDICAL MARIJUANA CARD

Several states permit medical marijuana use and/or purchases with out-of-state medical marijuana cards. This list (last updated 5/11/21) includes:

ALASKA

Alaska allows both recreational and medical marijuana. Out-of-state medical marijuana cards are not recognized, but any adult over 21 can purchase cannabis at a recreational dispensary. For more information, see: What You Need to Know about Using Marijuana in Alaska.

Possession Limit: 1 oz. useable; 6 plants (no more than 3 mature)

ARIZONA

Arizona allows visiting patients to use medical marijuana (with a state-approved card); however, non-residents are not permitted to purchase cannabis from a dispensary. For more information, see: Arizona Medical Marijuana FAQs.

Possession Limit: 2.5 oz. useable; 12 plants

ARKANSAS

Arkansas currently allows for “visiting qualified patients” who have a valid medical marijuana card issued by another state to purchase and possess cannabis. For more information, see: Arkansas Medical Marijuana FAQs.

Possession Limit: 2.5 oz. useable per 14-day period

CALIFORNIA

With the passing of Proposition 64, California officially opened its doors to medical marijuana patients from any state who are over the age of 21. Although you do not need a medical marijuana card to purchase from a dispensary, all additional taxes are waived for qualified patients with a valid card. For more information, see: Proposition 64: 34011 (g).

Possession Limit: 1 oz. usable; 8 g concentrate ; 6 plants matured (contingent on local ordinances)

COLORADO

Although recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, non-residents (regardless of their status as a medical marijuana cardholder) are bound to stricter possession limits. For more information, see: Colorado Laws About Marijuana Use.

Possession Limit for all non-residents: 1 oz. usable; 8 g concentrate; May only purchase ¼ oz. usable at a time

Possession Limit for residents with a medical marijuana card: 2 oz. usable; 56 g concentrate; 6 plants

HAWAII

Hawaii allows for “qualified patients from other states who have been verified in their home state and registered in Hawaii.” For more information, see: Hawaii Department of Health Medical Cannabis Registry Program.

Possession Limit: 4 oz. useable per 15-day period

ILLINOIS

Effective January 1, 2020, adults 21 and older may possess cannabis and purchase cannabis products in licensed stores. Non-residents may purchase 15 grams of cannabis, 250 mg. of THC in a cannabis-infused product, and 2.5 grams of concentrated cannabis products. For more information see: Overview of the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act.

Possession Limit: 15 g. usable; 2.5 g. hash/concentrates

MAINE

Maine allows visiting patients to use medical marijuana if they have a valid Maine-approved written physician certificate form, which has been completed, signed and dated by the visiting patient’s home-jurisdiction treating physician. The form is available on the DHHS site. For more information, see: Safe Access: Becoming a Patient in Maine.

Possession Limit: 2.5 oz. useable; up to 15 plants (no more than 3 mature); 5 g. hash/concentrates

MARYLAND

If a patient from out of state is in Maryland for medical treatment, they can register to receive medical marijuana, but the state does not recognize out-of-state medical marijuana cards. For more information, see: Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission: Registration.

MICHIGAN

Visiting patients with a medical marijuana card may purchase and use medical cannabis. For more information, see: Michigan Medical Marijuana Act 333.26424, Sec. 4(h).

Possession Limit: 2.5 oz. usable; 12 plants

MISSISSIPPI

Per the Mississippi State Department of Health: “MSDH is currently working to establish production, regulation and licensing structures in time for the target date of August 15, 2021. Initiative 65 requires that regulations for all aspects of the program, including production and licensing for sale, must be in place by July 1, 2021. As we make progress we will keep the public fully informed.” For more information, see: Mississippi State Department of Health: Medical Marijuana Regulation and Licensure.

Possession Limit: N/A

MISSOURI

Only permanent Missouri residents who have a valid medical marijuana license may purchase medical marijuana from a dispensary. Missouri does not currently recognize medical marijuana cards from other states although provisions are in place to hopefully amend this. For more information, please refer to: The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services: Medical Marijuana Rules.

Possession limit for medical marijuana patients: 4 oz useable per 30-day period

MONTANA

You do not need a medical marijuana card to purchase recreational marijuana in Montana. However, Montana does recognize valid medical marijuana cards from other states. For more information, see: Montana Secretary of State – Ballot Measure 190 or Montana Legislature: Title 50 Chapter 46.

Possession Limit: 1 oz usable

NEVADA

You do not need a medical marijuana card in order to purchase recreational cannabis in the state of Nevada. However, Nevada does honor valid medical marijuana cards from other states. Cardholders from Florida may shop in medical marijuana dispensaries. For more information, please refer to Nevada Legal Use Possession & Consumption.

Possession limit for non medical patients: 1 oz. usable; ⅛ oz concentrate; 6 plants (but ONLY if there is no MMTC within 25 miles of the property you’re growing at and you have written consent from the landlord)

Possession limit for medical marijuana patients: 2.5 oz useable per 14-day period; 12 plants

NEW HAMPSHIRE

As long as patients are authorized to use marijuana for a condition approved by New Hampshire, visitors can use medical cannabis (however, they cannot make purchases at dispensaries). For more information, see: Therapeutic Cannabis Program Registry Rules, He-C 401.16, Visiting Qualifying Patients.

Possession Limit: 2 oz. usable

OKLAHOMA

Patients visiting Oklahoma with a medical marijuana card from another state may get a temporary registration from Oklahoma at a cost of $100. For more information, see: Current OMMA Rules.

OREGON

Oregon does not recognize out-of-state medical marijuana cards, but any adult 21+ can purchase cannabis with valid ID. For more information, see: Oregon Health Authority.

Possession Limit: 1 oz. usable in public; 8 oz. home-grown usable at home; 4 plants; 16 oz. solid marijuana-infused, 72 oz. liquid-infused; 1 oz. extract at home of hash/concentrates

RHODE ISLAND

Rhode Island allows visiting patients to use and purchase medical marijuana (with a state-approved card). For more information, see: The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act § 21-28.6-4 (n).

Possession Limit: 2.5 oz usable; 12 plants

VERMONT

Currently, Vermont does not recognize out-of-state medical marijuana cards, although any adult 21+ with a valid ID may purchase cannabis from any dispensary. For more information, see: Vermont Statutes Chapter 084: Possession and Control of Regulated Drugs: 18 V.S.A. § 4230.

Possession Limit: 1 oz. usable; 6 plants (no more than 2 mature); 5 g. hash

WASHINGTON

You do not need a medical marijuana card in order to purchase recreational cannabis from a dispensary. Washington does not honor medical marijuana cards from other states. For more information, see: The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.

Possession Limit for non-cardholders: 1 oz. whole flower; 16 oz. solid marijuana-infused, 72 oz. liquid infused; 7 oz. of concentrates

Possession limit for resident card-holders only: 3 oz usable; 48 oz solid infused; 216 oz liquid infused; 21 g concentrate; 6 – 15 plants depending on physician referral.

* WASHINGTON D.C.

Washington D.C. accepts medical marijuana cards from states with “functionally equivalent programs.” Florida is one of these accepted states! For more information, see: DC Health Medical Marijuana Reciprocity Jurisdictions

Possession Limit: 2 oz. usable; 6 plants, 3 mature

MEDICAL MARIJUANA RECIPROCITY LAWS

States accepting out-of-state medical marijuana cards practice what is known as reciprocity. While reciprocity laws – especially in states that permit medical purchases – help visitors avoid a number of travel-related legal issues, it’s important to remain mindful of both marijuana’s federal prohibition and state-specific statutes.

SEASONAL “SNOWBIRD” FLORIDA RESIDENTS

Seasonal Florida residents may qualify for a Florida medical marijuana card. According to Senate Bill 8(A):

The term “seasonal resident” means any person who temporarily resides in this state for a period of at least 31 consecutive days in each calendar year, maintains a temporary residence in this state, returns to the state or jurisdiction of his or her residence at least one time during each calendar year, and is registered to vote or pays income tax in another state or jurisdiction.

About the Author: Jessica attended Harvard where she focused on neuropsychology. Her personal research interests include psychosocial interventions for obesity, depression, and generalized anxiety disorders (summarized in the thesis: Deconstructing the Chemical Imbalance Theory: A Strategic Starting Point for Counter Campaigns). Jessica is the author of Cannabis Clapbacks, a science-based marijuana gift book, and her insight on medical cannabis has been cited by both local and national press.

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