Can You Buy Medical Marijuana in Another State?

January 21, 2021

So far, we’ve had quite a few states and U.S. territories start medical cannabis programs. While some have legalized, we also see others considering 2021 ballot measures to create their own medical marijuana programs.

But what about the states that accommodate medical marijuana patients? Can you purchase medical marijuana in another cannabis-friendly state with your MMJ card from your home state?

Can you take medical marijuana across state lines? Or is that prohibited?

Here’s some much-needed insight for these confusing times.

States Where Medical Marijuana is Legal

Even though federal law still prohibits cannabis use, many states have medical marijuana programs. These programs provide qualified patients with access to cannabis from state-sanctioned dispensaries after getting certified by a qualified medical professional.

Here is a list of the states and territories where medical marijuana is legal:

  1. Alaska
  2. Arizona
  3. Arkansas
  4. California
  5. Colorado
  6. Connecticut
  7. Delaware
  8. Florida
  9. Guam
  10. Hawaii
  11. Illinois
  12. Iowa
  13. Louisiana
  14. Maine
  15. Massachusetts
  16. Maryland
  17. Michigan
  18. Minnesota
  19. Mississippi
  20. Missouri
  21. Montana
  22. Nevada
  23. New Hampshire
  24. New Jersey
  25. New Mexico
  26. New York
  27. North Dakota
  28. Ohio
  29. Oklahoma
  30. Oregon
  31. Pennsylvania
  32. Puerto Rico
  33. Rhode Island
  34. South Dakota
  35. U.S. Virgin Islands
  36. Utah
  37. Vermont
  38. Washington
  39. Washington D.C.
  40. West Virginia

Marijuana Reciprocity

What is reciprocity, and how does it impact where MMJ card holders can buy their medicine?

Reciprocity is the mutual exchange of privileges spread out across individuals, businesses, states, and nations. When we use this term in regards to medical cannabis law, some states and countries recognize patients’ written recommendations to obtain medical cannabis.

For instance, in 2014, Nevada passed a law that now lets the state recognize medical marijuana recommendations issued by other states. This was a move that encouraged its tourist-driven cannabis economy to flourish.

But what about other states?

Medical Marijuana Reciprocity: Do Other States Accept Medical Cannabis Cards from Other States?

Medical marijuana reciprocity is when one state recognizes a patient’s medical marijuana card from another state. For instance, if you have a Virginia medical marijuana card, you’re probably wondering if another state’s program will accept it. If you were to travel to California and use your Virginia MMJ card, you’d be allowed to purchase medical cannabis from a Cali dispensary.

Why? Because California practices medical marijuana reciprocity.

But what other states recognize out-of-state marijuana certifications?

The following is a list of reciprocal states and territories that will recognize an MMJ card from your home state:

  1. Alaska
  2. Arizona
  3. Arkansas
  4. California
  5. Colorado
  6. Hawaii
  7. Maine
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Michigan
  10. Nevada
  11. New Hampshire
  12. New Mexico
  13. Oklahoma
  14. Oregon
  15. Pennsylvania
  16. Puerto Rico
  17. Rhode Island
  18. Washington
  19. Washington D.C.

Some medical marijuana reciprocity states and territories also make it easy to use an MMJ card to enter dispensaries and purchase medication. While some practice more leniency than others, you should not have an issue with the law during your visit.

For instance, New Hampshire won’t allow criminal charges against an MMJ card holder. However, the state doesn’t allow patients to purchase cannabis from their dispensaries.

Some states and territories will let you buy your medicine from dispensaries. However, this is at the discretion of the dispensary owner. With this in mind, call the dispensary before you visit to ask if they accept out-of-state MMJ cards.

In some states, you’ll find legal recreational-use cannabis available. For instance, California, Colorado, and Nevada all allow adult-use cannabis purchases without an MMJ card. Thus, keep in mind that you won’t need to show your MMJ card unless the law prohibits recreational-use marijuana.

Even if you already have your MMJ card from another state, the process is more demanding than merely bringing your card to a dispensary. You’ll likely need to register as a patient there and get an out-of-state medical marijuana card.

For instance, if you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, you’ll have to submit an application and pay a $49.50 application fee within 60 days prior to your visit. Once you do this, you’ll receive an electronic certification that will let you buy cannabis upon your arrival.

Regardless of the state or territory you plan to travel to, research the medical marijuana reciprocity laws.

Can You Get a Medical Marijuana Card if You Don’t Live in That State?

Can you obtain a medical marijuana card in another state? Sometimes, but it can be risky. This is especially true if your home state hasn’t yet legalized.

While it might seem clever to bypass your state’s cannabis laws by getting an MMJ card out of state, you could face some severe charges. In some cases, patients have been charged with illegal possession and drug trafficking. With this in mind, it’s always best to obtain a medical card legally as a resident of the state.

Can You Take Your Medical Marijuana Across State Lines?

So what if you’d prefer not to go through the hassle of buying medical cannabis in another state? Can you take your medical marijuana across state lines?

Simply put, the answer is no. Unfortunately, you cannot take medical cannabis across state lines. This is even the case if you plan to travel between two states that have both legalized medical marijuana.

At this point, it’s still a federal crime to transport controlled substances across state lines. Since cannabis is still a controlled substance, this is a severe felony. So carrying your medical marijuana across state lines is a punishable offense that directly violates the Controlled Substances Act. Thus, the DEA would have something to say as it still sees cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug.

You might be considering bringing your cannabis on a plane. This can be even more of an issue as federal agents manage airport security.

Since the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) oversees airport security, it’s best to leave your cannabis at home.

But are TSA agents looking for marijuana? No. However, they are required to report it to authorities if they find any.

Sometimes, the authorities will confiscate the medication and send passengers on their way. But there are times patients have faced legal recourse.

With this being the case, keep your cannabis away from airplanes. The potentially severe penalties aren’t worth the risk. Hopefully, you’re traveling to a state or territory that has medical marijuana reciprocity. If this is the case, you can buy some more upon your arrival.

Need a medical marijuana certification? CannabisRXHealth is here to help. We provide medical marijuana card certification in Virginia through our licensed physicians. The process is straightforward and ensures you can purchase your medicine legally.