In case you haven’t heard, marijuana is legal in Washington state! Smoking weed for medicinal purposes has been permitted since 1998 as long as you have proper documentation, and in November 2012, residents voted to legalize the product for recreational use. However, just because you can legally consume it doesn’t mean you have a free pass to go all out and enjoy total freedom.
As of the beginning of 2018, it is still illegal to consume marijuana in many places, essentially anywhere outside the comfort of your own home. Think of the restrictions in a similar manner to consuming alcohol, except more stringent. With that being said, what if you’re a resident of Washington but need to take a trip outside of the state?
Whether your travel is for business or pleasure, there’s a chance you may want to take a few nugs of your favorite strain with you on the road. Before you pack your bags, it’s imperative that you understand the law regarding marijuana use in whatever state you’re visiting. To save you some time, we’ve compiled a quick guide to traveling with weed!
Legalization In Several Forms
By now you’ve probably realized that the term “legal weed” can bring some nuances along with it. Regulations typically separate medicinal usage from recreational enjoyment, and while you might be able to take advantage of one in certain areas, the other may be strictly prohibited.
As of January 8, 2018 you can consume marijuana for medical purposes only in the following states:
- North Dakota
- New Mexico
- West Virginia
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- New Hampshire
That seems like quite an extensive list, doesn’t it? On paper it does look like the world is your oyster when it comes to traveling with marijuana, but in reality, only about half of the US will allow you to partake.
Defining Medical Usage
An important thing to note is that the states which allow medical marijuana enforce this regulation wholeheartedly. If there’s even the slightest inkling that you’re using cannabis for recreational purposes you could potentially face some strict punishment – more on that later.
So what’s the caveat to this long list of places where you can smoke pot? Nearly all of them do not allow out-of-state usage, meaning that if you hold a Washington medical card but you travel to North Dakota, your card means virtually nothing.
As of the end of 2017, only seven states that allow medical marijuana grant out-of-towners the freedom to consume within their borders. While some areas will give you a free pass if you’re smoking in the privacy of someone’s home, others prohibit visitors from purchasing at a local dispensary with an out-of-state medical card.
With that being said, the idea of traveling with weed to another state can be a huge gray area. If you have a medical authorization to consume and you’re visiting a state that allows you to smoke, should you bring weed with you? If you’re headed to an area where you aren’t allowed to purchase, it seems like you should, right?
These questions are tough to answer, and ultimately we aren’t here to tell you one way or another. Instead, let’s shift the focus over to the states where you won’t have to worry one bit – the places where recreational use is allowed.
Feel Free To Smoke Away!
Ready for an epic road trip? You’re in luck, as all of the West Coast has gotten on board with allowing marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes. Your full list of green light states are as follows:
In most cases, you can purchase and consume marijuana as an out-of-towner just as you would in Washington. One element to keep in mind, not only at home but when on the road, is that each state does have different limits on purchasing and possession. The laws on this can change from time to time, so be sure to do a bit of homework before heading to the nearest dispensary.
Penalties For Misuse
You might be tempted to bring some bud across state lines and covertly partake in a private setting. Again, we’re not here to tell you yes or no, but you should understand the ramifications if you choose to indulge. No matter where you are, whether weed is legal in any form or not, you’ll face serious consequences if you are driving under the influence. A DUI doesn’t look good on anyone’s record.
As far as the consequences are concerned for getting caught with marijuana on your person, in your car, or actually smoking it, they will vary depending on the state you’re visiting. Some see it as a small slap on the wrist and might simply confiscate your material while others head straight to charging you with a felony.
Ultimately the choice is yours – if you have a medical need for your weed and you won’t be able to function without it, you may decide that it’s worth it to take the risk and smoke in a state where it’s illegal. Others may want to hide their bud in the form of edibles and try to pass it off as normal candy if questioned, while still other cannabis connoisseurs don’t want to take the risk that’s involved.
If in doubt, head over to The Bakeréé where our knowledgeable staff can help you to understand the consequences of taking weed over state lines. The cannabis community is a big one but we’re here to support one another, so we’ll be sure to share any recommendations we may have for shops you can visit on your trip.
One last thing – keep in mind that legislation regarding cannabis is constantly in flux, and the information we’ve discussed today might have changed by the time you’re ready to take a trip. Always do a bit of research before you travel with marijuana just to make sure you’re not putting yourself at risk. Bon voyage!