Medical Marijuana Reciprocity: Using Your Medical Card in Another State

Last Updated on Sep 27, 2022 by Mark Conklin, RN, MHA

Have you ever wondered if you can take your medical marijuana across state lines, or if you can access more marijuana once you get there? This is a legitimate question which, at this point, doesn’t have a single, straightforward answer. Read on.

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 68% of Americans supporting the legalization of marijuana, medical marijuana should become more accessible to patients in the near future, which means travel in the U.S. should become easier over time.

It’s important to note that since marijuana is illegal at the federal level, it is also illegal to transport marijuana between two states, even if you have a medical marijuana card. This is true even if you’re traveling between two states that both have completely legalized marijuana. Once you travel between the states, you’re in federal jurisdiction.

But you may be wondering if you can get your medical marijuana legally once you’re there. The laws vary from state to state, so for now, the onus is on individual patients to be familiar with state rules before they take a trip. Here’s an overview of U.S. marijuana laws by state and how their reciprocity rules may affect your travel.

Note: Marijuana laws are constantly changing. Always visit the state’s government website to get the most accurate and up-to-date information, and contact them directly with any questions or concerns.

Quick Navigation: Where will you be traveling?

What Is Medical Cannabis Reciprocity?

Medical marijuana reciprocity simply refers to whether or not each state has reciprocal (equal) laws regarding 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 that is only valid in their traveling state. 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 September 2022, 19 states, plus Washington D.C. and Guam, have legalized recreational cannabis or are pending legalization. These states include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Some states, while recreational is still illegal, have legalized marijuana for medicinal use. As of September 2022, these states include Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia.

Seven states that don’t allow medicinal or recreational marijuana do allow CBD oils for therapeutic use.

Which Dispensaries Accept Out Of State IDs?

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

Though a few state dispensaries 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. 

It’s best to call ahead to the dispensary you wish to purchase from and explain your situation.

So if you are wondering, “can I use my medical card in another state?” read on for an overview of state rules as well as their laws regarding medical marijuana reciprocity. 

ALABAMA

Recreational marijuana remains illegal in Alabama at the current time. Alabama has not decriminalized marijuana; therefore possession will still get you in trouble. Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Alabama.

ALASKA

Marijuana is entirely legal in Alaska and has been since 2014. Anyone 21 and older can buy and carry up to one ounce of marijuana.

Regardless of whether or not you have your medical marijuana card, you will be able to purchase it for your medical needs at a dispensary with just your driver’s license. Out-of-state medical marijuana cards are accepted.

Some cities also have specific laws regarding transport around the city or state. In Anchorage, for example, the law states that you must carry it in the trunk of your car (making it inaccessible to the driver). Click here for the most up-to-date state laws for Alaska.

ARIZONA

Marijuana is fully legal in Arizona and has been since 2020 under the Smart and Safe Arizona Act. Adults 21 and older can possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Out-of-state medical marijuana cards are accepted.

Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Arizona.

ARKANSAS

Medical Marijuana is legal in Arkansas. In 2020, the Arkansas Recreational Marijuana Initiative attempted to get enough signatures to be on the ballot to make it fully legal. They will be trying again in 2022. 

Out-of-state medical marijuana cards are accepted. At the current time, you must have your state’s medical marijuana card, then apply as a visiting patient and be approved. The application cost is $50 (non-refundable), and upon approval, you can purchase medical marijuana in Arkansas for 30 days.

Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Arkansas.

CALIFORNIA

California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana back in 1996. Since then, they’ve also legalized recreational use as well. You can travel around the state with one ounce.

You do not need a medical marijuana card to purchase; you just have to be 21 years of age. However, even from out of state, a qualifying card will allow you to waive certain taxes.

Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for California.

COLORADO

Marijuana is completely legal in Colorado. Non-residents are able to possess one ounce of usable marijuana or 8 grams of concentrate. They may also only purchase up to ¼ ounce of usable marijuana at a time, with or without having a medical marijuana card.

It’s important to note that many counties have their own policies, and there are many places, such as National Parks, that are off-limits to marijuana use. 

Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Colorado.

CONNECTICUT

Marijuana is completely legal in Connecticut as of July 2021. Adults 21 and older may carry up to 1.5 ounces on them and up to 5 ounces in a secure location, like their home or locked vehicle trunk.

Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Connecticut.

DELAWARE

Medical marijuana is legal in Delaware; however, the state does not allow any out-of-state reciprocity. This means you must be a Delaware resident with an in-state medical marijuana card to purchase marijuana.

As of 2022, full legalization is still in process, as the democratic governor was the first to veto a legalization bill. 

Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Delaware.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Marijuana is fully legal in Washington, DC. The district supports reciprocity, and out-of-state medical marijuana cards are accepted, assuming the guidelines are similar (Florida is one of the states whose MMJ cards are accepted!)

Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for the District of Columbia.

FLORIDA

Medical marijuana is legal in Florida, but recreational use is still prohibited. Florida does not allow out-of-state medical marijuana cards for the purchase or consumption of cannabis. However, if you are a Florida resident (which you can be considered if you spend at least 6 months of the year in the state), you can obtain a medical marijuana card here

In 2022, several cannabis proposals are in the works. Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Florida.

GEORGIA

In Georgia, medical marijuana is a bit more complex than other states and has some of the harshest laws. While 71% of registered voters feel marijuana should be completely legal, patients are only allowed low-THC medical cannabis oils that contain up to 5% THC. As of May 2022, the law was still being put into action, as they have yet to open licensing for dispensaries. 

It should also be noted that Georgia has not decriminalized marijuana like many states. So being caught with possession, no matter how little, can still result in jail time. However, if you do wish to obtain low-THC medical cannabis oil while in the state of Georgia, they do offer reciprocity if you have a medical marijuana card in another state. You’ll be required to fill out a visiting patient form and show proof of medical marijuana registration from your home state. Click here for the most up-to-date state laws for Georgia.

HAWAII

Medical marijuana is legal in Hawaii, but recreational use is still prohibited. In 2022, proposals came over from 2021, but nothing was passed. 

If you are traveling to Hawaii from another state where you have a medical marijuana card, you can obtain an out-of-state patient card by visiting the State of Hawaii Department of Health online application portal. There is a non-refundable application fee, and you must apply at least 60 days before your visit.

Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Florida.

IDAHO

Marijuana, both recreational and medicinal, remains completely illegal in Idaho at the current time. A bill is being introduced in 2024 for medical cannabis. Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Idaho.

ILLINOIS

Marijuana, both recreational and medicinal, is fully legal in the state of Illinois for adults. The state does not offer medical marijuana reciprocity, and there are actually limitations on what an out-of-state visitor can obtain. If you are not a resident, you can only possess up to 15 grams of cannabis. Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Illinois.

INDIANA

Marijuana, both recreational and medicinal, remains illegal in Indiana at the current time. CBD oils containing less than .3% THC are allowed. Indiana hopes to legalize medicinal marijuana soon, as several cannabis reform bills were introduced in 2022, but nothing passed. 

Note that marijuana is also not decriminalized in Indiana, so those caught with possession could face jail time. Click here for the most up-to-date state laws for Indiana.

IOWA

Marijuana is not recreationally legal in Iowa, but they do have a limited medical marijuana program. In 2020, a bill was enacted that allows products with a small THC content of 4.5 grams every 90 days. The state does not offer medical marijuana reciprocity, and if you do wish to purchase the legal cannabidiol, a dispensary may be tough to come by, as the state only has a few.

Note that marijuana is also not decriminalized in Iowa, so those caught with possession could face jail time. Click here for the most up-to-date state laws for Iowa.

KANSAS

Marijuana, both recreational and medicinal, remains completely illegal in Kansas at the current time. A medical marijuana bill was introduced for 2021, carried over into 2022 and was passed by the House but not the Senate. Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Kansas.

KENTUCKY

Kentucky is another state that allows only CBD oils to be used and does not allow medical or recreational marijuana. In a survey by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, they found that 90% of residents favor medical marijuana, and nearly 60% would like to see full marijuana legalization. Unfortunately, the Senate did not pass the bill for 2022.

While medical marijuana is not legalized yet, Kentucky does intend to offer medical marijuana reciprocity once it is. A visiting patient from another state will be allowed to complete a visiting patient form to purchase from dispensaries.

Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Kansas.

LOUISIANA

Starting in mid-2021, Louisianans can now possess up to 14 grams of marijuana and not be incarcerated (though they will still receive a small fine). While they have decriminalized minor possession, cannabis remains only medically legal. Louisiana does not permit out-of-state medical marijuana cards. Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Louisiana.

MAINE

Marijuana is fully legal in Maine. The state does allow the use of your medical marijuana card from another state. Your card will give you the freedom to purchase up to 2.5 ounces every 15 days. Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Maine. 

NEBRASKA

Marijuana, both recreational and medicinal, remains completely illegal in Nebraska at the current time. A medical marijuana bill is being pursued in 2022. Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Nebraska.

NORTH CAROLINA

Marijuana, both recreational and medicinal, remains completely illegal in North Carolina at the current time. A bill has been introduced for medical marijuana, but previous efforts have not been successful in cannabis reform. Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for North Carolina.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Marijuana, both recreational and medicinal, remains completely illegal in South Carolina at the current time. A bill has been introduced for medical marijuana, but so far, the chances of becoming law within a year are very low. Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for South Carolina.

TENNESSEE

Marijuana, both recreational and medicinal, remains completely illegal in Tennessee at the current time. Most recently (in March 2021), the Senate Government Operations Committee approved a medicinal marijuana bill, but the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected it. Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Tennessee.

WYOMING

Marijuana, both recreational and medicinal, remains completely illegal in Wyoming at the current time. Most recently, in 2021, a bill proposing the legalization of medical marijuana was not passed before the deadline, so it will likely get brought up again for 2022. Click here for the most up-to-date state marijuana laws for Wyoming.

* Even if a state accepts out-of-state medical marijuana cards, they may have specific rules for each location that change frequently. Always check with the location to which you are traveling.

Air Travel With Marijuana

Since marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug, it’s vital to practice caution when traveling.

As an illegal substance, marijuana is on the TSA’s prohibited items list. The federal government controls U.S. airspace, which means that you shouldn’t risk flying with marijuana. Though TSA officers are generally not looking for marijuana, they are obligated to seek and report anything illegal to authorities or anything that could point to unlawful 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 crucial to practice caution when traveling.

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 thoroughly 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 regarding medical marijuana reciprocity laws, medical marijuana patients should be able to travel with an increasing amount of security in the near future.

Do you live in Florida or New York and are looking to get your medical marijuana card? We’ll walk you through it quickly and easily from start to finish. Contact us here.


References

  1. https://www.pewresearch.org/
  2. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/
  3. https://www.michigan.gov/lara/
  4. https://www.bdopr.com/en-gb/insights/

Howard Seth Meiselman, DO

Medically reviewed by Howard Seth Meiselman, DO — Written by Mark Conklin 

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Mark Conklin, RN, MHA

Mark Conklin is the founder and CEO of Tierra Healthcare Concepts and is also part of the medical team. He has over 25 years of experience in the healthcare field working at the executive management level and as a medical professional. Education RN, BS Biology, and Master of Health Administration course curriculum.

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