Menu

Medical Marijuana Reciprocity: Using Your Medical Card in Another State

Insert Content Template or Symbol

Have you ever wondered if you can take your medical marijuana across state lines, or if you can access more once you get there?

This is a legitimate question which, at this point, doesn’t have a single, clear answer.

Medical Marijuana Reciprocity

Medical (and even recreational) marijuana laws vary from state to state, which means that state laws and rules can get confusing pretty quickly. To add to the confusion, marijuana is still classed as an illegal Schedule I drug at the federal level. 

With some 62% of Americans supporting the legalization of marijuana, medical marijuana should become more accessible to patients, which means travel in the U.S. should become easier over time. [1]

But for now, the onus is on individual patients to be familiar with state rules before they travel. Here’s an overview of U.S. medical cannabis reciprocity rules.

What is Medical Cannabis Reciprocity?

Medical marijuana reciprocity simply refers to whether or not each state has reciprocal (equal) laws with regards to whether patients can legally purchase medical marijuana when they are not in their home state where the card was issued.

Some states have reciprocity with other states, but others require tourists to get a new card which is only valid in the state where they are traveling to. And in other cases, you may be able to bring your own medical marijuana into the state, but not necessarily access it in dispensaries.

Which States Have Legalized Marijuana Use?

As of December 2018, 10 states, plus Washington D.C., have legalized recreational cannabis including Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, California, Maine, Michigan, Vermont, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts. [2]

Meanwhile, at least 20 states in total have decriminalized marijuana, which means that you can consume small amounts so long as you are an adult over 21.    

28 states (plus D.C.) also have medical marijuana programs, with another 17 states allowing certain products with low levels of THC for medical purposes. [3]

Which States Have Legalized Marijuana Use

Source: Humidify

Which Dispensaries Accept Out of State IDs?

Where do you find the dispensaries that accept out of state identification cards?

Though there are a few state dispensaries which accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards, it is often up to the discretion of the dispensary itself as to whether or not they choose to sell to out-of-state visitors.

If you are wondering, “can I use my medical card in another state?” Read on for an overview of state rules regarding current medical marijuana reciprocity laws. 

Arizona

You can bring your own medical marijuana into Arizona, but you are not allowed to purchase cannabis from dispensaries in the state, even with a valid medical marijuana card. 

However, medical marijuana is legal, and possession limits are 2.5 oz.   

California

Medical cannabis is legal for adults who are over 21 and have ID. The possession limits are 28.5 grams of flower. Recreational cannabis is legal, so you will be able to access it. But visitors can also apply for a California medical cannabis card on arrival.

Colorado

Colorado has legalized both medical and recreational marijuana, and it is accessible to anyone over the age of 21. The legal limit is 1 oz. However, Colorado currently does not recognize patients from other states. [4]

Hawaii

As of 2019, Hawaii’s reciprocity program involves buying a $45 registration card for use in Hawaii only. The card is valid for two months. The state ensures faster access for certain patients — for instance, for those with terminal illnesses. [5]    

Maine 

Medical marijuana patients on their way to Maine will be pleased to know that they can legally use cannabis for the first month that they are there, but they must register with the state to have full access to dispensaries.

Legal limits are 2.5 oz for out-of-state visitors.

Massachusetts 

MA allows out-of-state visitors with valid ID to purchase cannabis. The legal limit for possession is 1 oz.

Michigan 

Michigan has legalized medical and recreational marijuana but not in public places. People traveling interstate are subject to possession limits are 2.5 oz, and dispensaries may or may not sell to those with out-of-state cards. [6]

New Hampshire 

Out of state visitors can’t actually purchase marijuana from dispensaries in NH unless they have a card that falls under that state’s qualifying medical conditions. Visitors can bring up to 2 oz into the state, however, so long as they have a valid medical card. 

Nevada

In Nevada, cannabis is legal, which means you can purchase it anywhere, but it’s worth noting that using your medical marijuana card can help you save money on cannabis tax. 

Oregon

Cannabis is legal in Oregon. Medical dispensaries generally won't recognize your out-of-state ID, but anyone over 21 can purchase an ounce of pot at retail dispensaries.

Pennsylvania

At this time Pennsylvania does not have a medical marijuana reciprocity program. However, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has begun a process of implementation.

Puerto Rico 

Puerto Rico is welcoming to tourists with medical marijuana cards and does generally allow reciprocity to U.S. individuals, but recreational marijuana is not legal. [7]

Rhode Island 

Medical marijuana is approved in RI and the state does, in general, accept medical cannabis cards — but all of them may not, so it’s best to call ahead. The maximum possession limit is 2.5 oz.

Washington D.C.

Marijuana, both medical and recreational, is legal in Washington, so long as you are an adult over 21. Possession limits are one oz of flower, 16 oz of edibles, 72 oz of liquid and 7 oz of concentrate.  

You can find further information regarding state medical marijuana laws and programs at the National Conference of State Legislatures

Air Travel with Marijuana

Since marijuana is still classified as a schedule I drug, it’s important to practice caution when you are traveling anywhere.

As an illegal substance, marijuana is on the TSA’s prohibited items list. The federal government controls US airspace which means that you shouldn’t risk flying with marijuana. Though TSA officers are not normally looking for marijuana, they are obligated to seek and report anything illegal to authorities, or even anything that could point to illegal substances.

In other words: they might not care if your marijuana is medical, because to them it is an illegal substance.  

Since marijuana is still classified as a schedule I drug, it’s important to practice caution when you are traveling anywhere.

?

Marijuana is on the TSA’s prohibited items list.

The Bottom Line

Here’s a checklist to help medical marijuana users stay safe and stress-free during travel:

  • Always have your medical marijuana card with you, along with all documentation.
  • Be completely familiar with state laws in the states you are traveling to, including possession limits for your preferred type(s) of cannabis products. 
  • Call ahead to local dispensaries if you think you will need to purchase more marijuana on the road.
  •  Travel by car whenever possible.
  • Keep your marijuana in the original container and with a receipt.
  • Don’t’ travel internationally with marijuana.

Though rules remain somewhat vague and confusing with regards to medical marijuana reciprocity laws, medical marijuana patients should be able to travel with an increasing amount of security in the future.