Today, we’re seeing more states recognize the health implications of marijuana as well as the economic implications. But because we live in a country of 50 very different states with their own take on marijuana laws, it's often downright confusing to understand the laws as they will apply to you as a user, especially if you’re traveling interstate.
State Laws Vary, As You Know
And these laws are not just different from state to state but have multiple nuances from county to county and sometimes even municipality to municipality. Obviously, traveling to a state where cannabis is not legal sets you up for risk. But how does the law affect you if you're traveling from a place where it is legal to one where it is also legal?
Although the laws are constantly morphing, the legality behind it all is that you need to be very careful when traveling with cannabis products, even when you’re going to another area where it is legal.
Traveling Interstate with Marijuana is Still a Federal Offense
Even if you are going to another state with lenient cannabis laws, federal law still says it's illegal. And federal authorities have been clear that they allow states to enforce their own laws concerning cannabis. But there are certain areas where the federal government has jurisdiction over state laws. And one of those areas is in the way of interstate commerce. In other words, if you bring cannabis products over state lines, you can still be charged and prosecuted.
States Don’t Recognize or Abide By Another State’s Rules
Another snafu is the way state laws have differing standards. To avoid federal problems, these state standards must be abided by. In most cases, the product must be locally grown and can only be used in the state where the product is licensed. While states will offer what is called full faith and credit between states such as drivers licenses, this does not work the same way for marijuana laws.
Because there are still a minimum of states that have fully legalized marijuana, transporting it over state lines would be considered a crime even if it was purchased legally in the state of origin.
Wait Until You Get There
Because federal laws still prohibit marijuana and transportation is considered a federal crime, it’s best just to leave it at home and purchase it when you get to your destination. Even then, you want to understand the laws of where you are purchasing so you don’t expose yourself to legal risk. Wonder what the laws are in the state where you are traveling to?
Do Your ResearchBecause marijuana laws change rapidly, it’s important to consult an updated legalization map that sets out the marijuana laws across the United States. The Defense Information Systems Agency, otherwise known as DISA, puts out a marijuana legalization map that is updated on a monthly basis setting out all you need to know about legalization at your destination.