Medical cannabis is now legally recognized in three dozen states and the District of Columbia. Of those three dozen states, eighteen also allow recreational use. Does that mean you can now freely travel on vacation and take your medical cannabis with you? No, it doesn’t.
Each of the states with medical cannabis programs in place to govern those programs according to the standards set forth by their respective lawmakers. Furthermore, all of those state laws fly in the face of federal regulations which still classify marijuana as an illicit substance. However, there is an exception to the rule: CBD medications derived from hemp.
Hemp was legalized across the country by a farm bill signed into law in 2018. So if all of your medications are classified as CBD medications under federal law, you can freely travel with them. Anything containing THC must be left at home, or you run the risk of getting into trouble.
- You Cannot Fly with THC
THC is the cannabinoid in marijuana that produces the high feeling. Because THC-based medications are derived from marijuana, they are still federally illegal. That means you cannot fly, take a train, or ride a bus that crosses state lines while in possession of medical marijuana.
You could pack non-flower medications in either your carry-on or checked luggage, but you run the risk of being caught by drug sniffing dogs. It is not worth the risk. Leave your medications at home and make do with other alternatives while you’re on vacation.
- Driving with Medical Marijuana
Marijuana proponents encourage users to avoid public transportation if they want to take medical cannabis products with them on vacation. Technically, interstate driving with marijuana is also illegal inasmuch as transporting marijuana across state lines is a federal crime. Yet the chances of getting caught are pretty slim if you’re safe and responsible driver.
Also note that some states with legalized medical cannabis do not allow visitors to bring cannabis products in from out-of-state. Utah is an example. They have one of the most conservative medical cannabis laws in the country. They allow both residents and visitors to use medical cannabis with possession of a valid medical cannabis card but bringing products in from across state lines is not allowed.
- Purchasing Medical Cannabis in Another State
If you cannot live without your medication during your vacation, consider visiting states that issue visitor cards to non-residents. Again, Utah fits the bill.
According to Brigham City’s Beehive Farmacy, any medical cannabis products used in Utah must be bought from a Utah pharmacy. Nonetheless, Beehive says non-residents can get visitor cards good for up to 14 days. To do so, they have to already possess a valid medical cannabis card from their states of residence.
Let’s say you want to visit Utah this Christmas for a ski vacation. You can apply for a visitor card now by going online and visiting Utah’s medical cannabis website. You would have to furnish identifying information, the condition for which you use medical cannabis, and a copy of your current state card. If everything checks out, you would be issued a card for those dates you plan to be in Utah.
- Travel at Your Own Risk
For now, taking medical cannabis on vacation with you is a risky proposition. Even though the majority of states now recognize cannabis as a legitimate medical product, conflicts with federal law could mean trouble if you are caught traveling with THC-derived medications. If you do choose to take your medical cannabis with you, note that you will be traveling at your own risk.