- Jennifer Betz
A Virginia Guide to Traveling With Medical Marijuana In and Out of the State
As you prepare for your end-of-summer vacation, staycation, road trip or trek, don’t forget to make plans for traveling with medical marijuana so you always feel your best!
We know we’ve covered this topic before, but we think that traveling with medical marijuana in and out of Virginia is worth covering again, because we want you to be able to feel your best no matter where you are.
Virginia has legalized adult-use cannabis, so it’s legal to possess anywhere in the state as long as you are 21 or older. However, you can only purchase marijuana if you get a Virginia marijuana card. Once you have one, you can stock up on medical marijuana to make sure you feel your best while enjoying your favorite vacation activities.
Though Virginia has warmed up to cannabis throughout 2020 and 2021, there are some things you need to remember as you travel with your products. No matter what, it’s still illegal to drive while using marijuana, you can’t smoke or vape in public, and getting on a plane with pot is risky business.
You still don’t necessarily have to give up your medicine while you traverse the countryside. In this post we’ll help you navigate your access to medical marijuana wherever you are, so all you have to worry about is navigating to your next destination.
Traveling With Medical Marijuana: Staying in Virginia
As long as you’re not impaired and you have your cannabis products locked safely away, you can pretty much go anywhere in Virginia and keep taking your plant medicine. Especially if you have a marijuana card.
The one exception to this is if you visit a Federal landmark or park. So Assateague Island, Chesapeake Bay, Shenandoah National Park, Colonial Williamsburg and a number of other spots are off limits for your cannabis.
Traveling With Medical Marijuana: Leaving Virginia
Because marijuana is Federally illegal, visiting a reciprocal state is really the only legal way to make sure you get to maintain your medicinal cannabis regimen while you’re traveling if you leave the Commonwealth. You technically cannot cross state lines with marijuana, even if you have a doctor’s recommendation and you are traveling to a state where marijuana is legal.
Fortunately, several states do reciprocate (see link above) and 19 states have also legalized adult-use marijuana.
You can still travel with your medical marijuana from a Virginia dispensary if you leave the state, but there are some risks involved because crossing state lines with marijuana is illegal. We are going to take a closer look at your other options, but first, a word of caution:
This author is not a legal expert. While I have made every effort to ensure the information contained in this post is accurate and up-to-date, things change and I am not an attorney.
Additionally, we are all aware of the fact that some groups of people are at a higher risk than others of running into trouble with law enforcement. If you are in a high-risk group, we advise you to use extreme caution when traveling with cannabis. Whatever you do, know your rights related to medical marijuana before you travel.
Buying Medical Marijuana Once You Get to Your Destination
There are several states that recognize and honor out-of-state marijuana cards. Some of them allow you to shop at their dispensaries, and others will not penalize you for having the medical marijuana from your own state’s dispensary.
Additionally, 19 states, Washington D.C. and Guam have legalized recreational marijuana. (Washington D.C. also reciprocates medical marijuana cards.) Recreational products are probably not as great as medical-grade cannabis, but you can still get your medicine with nothing more than a state-issued ID that shows you are of legal age.
If you are traveling to a state that reciprocates your Virginia marijuana card, then you’ll want to contact a dispensary in that state to confirm the requirements for fulfilment. Some states allow you to walk right into a dispensary and purchase medical marijuana simply using your Virginia marijuana card, and others require a temporary permit and registration.
Arkansas, for example, requires that you fill out a visiting patient application, and it may take some time to process. Once you have a visiting patient card, however, you can shop at any Arkansas dispensary for your medicine.
Taking Your Medical Marijuana Across State Lines to a Reciprocal, Decriminalized or Recreational State
This one is a tough one, because it’s technically illegal to cross state lines with cannabis from another state. But some states have either decriminalized marijuana possession, recognize medical cards from other states, or they have recreational/adult-use laws in place.
This means that even if you do get caught with your cannabis, the worst you’ll likely get is a fine. Make sure you check the laws in each state where you intend to travel so you know and are prepared for consequences if they should arise.
Additionally, as long as you are following all traffic laws, your tags are up-to-date, and you keep your cannabis locked in the trunk, you’ve got a pretty low chance of getting caught.
Unfortunately, flying is a traveling activity we don’t recommend. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is a federal agency, and they are required by law to report you to local authorities if you have marijuana with you.
Some states have more relaxed regulations about this at their airports, and some airports even have “amnesty bins” so you can discard your cannabis before going through security. Nevertheless, we suggest you plan to travel to a reciprocal or recreational state if you plan to fly and still intend to use medical marijuana. Once you get to your destination, you can find a dispensary and make your purchases.
That being said, the TSA website says this about traveling with marijuana:
“TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers. Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”
Get a Virginia Marijuana Card to End Your Summer Feeling Great
While there are risks involved in traveling with medical marijuana and you need to do a little planning ahead, you can make sure you’re getting natural relief so that you can enjoy your entire vacation in most instances.
The Virginia Board of Medical Professionals is taking up to six weeks to process marijuana card applications right now, so we advise you to get your evaluation completed so you can get your card before summer’s over.
Give us a call at (877) 303-3117 or schedule an appointment online today!
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
At Virginia Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to MMJ. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (888) 633-5808, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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