For medical marijuana patients, summer fun is never complete without a stash of medical-grade marijuana to ensure the body and mind are at ease at all times – or at least, most of the time. But sometimes summer fun means interstate or international travel to meet friends and family or explore some hot vacation spots. And that’s where things get tricky!
Generally, traveling with weed across state lines or international borders is not the most legal thing to do. Therefore, part of your travel plans must include learning how to travel with weed before you hit the road or head to the airport.
For some patients who have their mind set on traveling with weed, interests could be a lot more specific: They’re wondering how to travel with weed in the car, or even how to travel with weed on a plane. And more importantly, can you travel with weed at all?
Let’s look at how the law, security agencies, and transport authorities address these questions.
Can You Travel with Weed?
Can you travel with weed? Although there is no straightforward answer to this question, the technical answer is no.
When considering intrastate trips, a visual representation answering this question would be a mosaic of yeses and nos.
At the federal level — when you think about traveling with weed across state borders — the answer is no: traveling with anything with any weed or weed product that is not hemp or hemp-derived is prohibited.
The federal government has classified cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug alongside heroin, thus making the plant illegal.
However, since the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp, medical marijuana products with less than 0.3% THC have become legal.
Hence, the law protects medical marijuana patients traveling with hemp-derived CBD and other hemp-derived products across state lines.
Anything with more than 0.3% THC is a no-no; unfortunately, that means you cannot travel across the U.S. with most of your preferred medical marijuana products.
Can You Travel with Weed in Legal States?
Yes, you can travel with weed in legal states. However, you must check the state’s laws to know their possession limit.
Legal states that have decriminalized marijuana have possession limits and distribution limits. Knowing the limits of the state you’re traveling within could be the difference between having a fun-filled summer vacation or a frustrating one.
For instance, California, with all its seemingly lax marijuana laws, has a possession limit of 28.5 grams. Consequently, the state defines possession of more than 28.5 grams of marijuana as a misdemeanor offense punishable by 6 months imprisonment or a fine up to $500.
Again, if you’re spending your summer in a legal state, make sure you know how much weed you can have on you at any given time. Being ignorant of the state laws might not be enough excuse for a local law enforcement officer to give you a pat on the back and let you go.
How about states with only medical marijuana programs? Check if the state offers medical marijuana reciprocity, and if they do, feel free to key into it and stick to applicable laws while enjoying your summer in the state!
How to Travel with Weed on a Plane
Knowing how to travel with weed on a plane can be really tricky, but it’s not something you can afford to ignore.
In general, we would suggest not trying to travel with weed on a plane, as the entire matter is illegal, complicated, and not worth getting in trouble over. However, here are some things you should know about the situation.
For starters, you should know the stance of the Transport Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the whole matter.
Generally, both the TSA and FAA consider marijuana to be an illegal substance. However, the TSA focuses on searching for things that could potentially threaten passengers and aviation and will not actively search you for marijuana.
If a TSA officer finds marijuana on you, it’s left to their discretion to allow you through the checkpoint or not.
Some airports have an amnesty box where they can tell you to dispose of your marijuana, or they simply refer your case to the local police. If you’re in a legal state, the police officer will most likely tell you to dispose of your marijuana before boarding. In non-legal states, you could be fined according to relevant laws.
The FAA considers all airways to be under federal jurisdiction; therefore, it’s illegal to fly with marijuana. It doesn’t matter that you’re traveling from one legal state to another.
Flying with Medical Marijuana
The TSA and FAA make an exemption for medical marijuana products that contain no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis or any other medical marijuana product the FDA approves.
In such cases, you can freely travel with weed on a plane in your carry-on bags or checked bags.
Some airports allow passengers to carry certain amounts of medical marijuana products within the airport grounds.
For instance, LAX and Seattle-Tacoma Int’l Airport have similar policies that allow the possession of cannabis as permissible by cannabis laws in California and Washington, respectively.
Denver International Airport does not permit the possession of marijuana, despite marijuana being legal in Colorado. Meanwhile, Portland International Airport allows passengers to carry marijuana if they’re flying within Oregon.
Whatever the case, if you really want to travel with weed, you can always go for CBD and hemp-derived products with less than 0.3% THC.
If it’s absolutely necessary for you to travel with medical marijuana for anxiety or other related conditions that could make flying uncomfortable, then edibles are your best chance at passing through without disturbance. Think cannabis-infused cookies well-wrapped or in a resealable container.
Note that if you’re traveling to a non-legal state, the risk of flying with weed might not be worth it at all. Knowledge of how to travel with weed on a plane is mostly handy if you’re flying between or within weed-legal states.
How to Travel with Weed in the Car
If you’d like to know how to travel with weed in the car, then there are three things you must bear in mind.
- Ensure the weed you are carrying is within the state’s possession limit
As a rule of thumb, you should avoid traveling with weed to non-legal states. If you must, carry less than one ounce of weed with you.
In South Carolina and other states where weed is famously illegal, carrying less than an ounce of weed will attract a maximum of $200 fine.
In South Dakota, the laws are a bit stringent; carrying up to two ounces or less is punishable by up to one year imprisonment and up to a $2,000 fine.
- Keep the weed in a sealed container in the trunk of your car – not the passenger or driver’s side.
Having your weed where it’s visible to you or within your reach while driving could raise a cop’s eyebrows and will make them more likely to subject you to a sobriety test.
This could get you in trouble, even if you only used some hours before driving. Cops are more likely to be lenient if the weed is in the trunk.
- If traveling through a non-legal state, keep a very low profile.
Do not over-speed or drive in a manner that draws too much attention to yourself.
Just having an out-of-state plate number is enough attention to deal with. Some cops are happy to stop and search cars that are from out of state, and they won’t mind putting you through the seven stages of hell if they find weed on you or in your car.
Another thing to note when pondering on how to travel with weed in the car is that state laws might not cover you in some weed-legal states if you’re on traveling on a federal highway within the state.
The difference between leniency and strictness depends on the law enforcement officer that stops you.
As always, your chances are better if your weed is in a container in the trunk of your car and you have a medical marijuana card with you – to show you’re not up to any foul play.
Can I Travel with Weed Internationally?
No, you cannot travel with weed internationally. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) takes a hard stance on traveling with weed across the U.S. border.
It doesn’t matter if you’re coming from or traveling to the neighboring Canada where weed is legal.
Unlike intrastate trips where traveling with weed is a matter of gray areas and exploiting technicalities, the CPB simply sticks to federal laws and does not allow marijuana across U.S. borders.
Additionally, if you’re traveling from the U.S. to another country where weed is legal, there is almost no point in carrying weed over.
The panic, anxiety, and potential run-in with law enforcement that comes with traveling with weed to non-legal countries is also a burden you don’t want to bear.
Can I Travel with My Medical Weed?
Yes, you can travel with your medical weed if it’s a hemp-derived CBD oil or hemp-derived product with not more than 0.3% THC.
Other terms of marijuana illegality apply to medical weed with more than 0.3% THC.
Thankfully, 18 states offer medical marijuana reciprocity, temporary in-state medical card, or some other form of reciprocity that allows patients with valid MMJ cards from other states to buy, use, and even cultivate marijuana in their state.
You should note that not all states that allow reciprocity allow medical weed from other states – even if it’s your home state. Therefore, you have to leave your weed at home when visiting.
Instead of bearing the risk of traveling with your THC products, you can simply maximize the state’s existing MMJ reciprocity to enjoy some top-shelf weed throughout your vacation.
Travel Safely With Your MMJ Card Using Elevate Holistics
At Elevate Holistics, we do not advise traveling with weed. However, having your medical marijuana card on you could help you get out of a fix with law enforcement if you think it absolutely necessary to cross state lines with a small amount of your medical weed.
More importantly, you can skip all the potential troubles and use your medical marijuana card to access your favorite medical-grade weed in states with any form of MMJ reciprocity.
And at Elevate Holistics, getting your state-licensed medical marijuana card is as simple as a virtual 30-minute, hassle-free interaction.
We have helped over 100,000 patients get their MMJ cards in states across the U.S.; we can help you, too!
Need to travel soon? Click here or the link below to book a call and get your MMJ card.