Is there anything more fun than hitting the open road for an adventure? There are so many benefits to choosing road-tripping versus other forms of travel. You can pack light and have more freedom to go wherever the journey takes you – oh, and it’s also typically a cheaper option for travelers on a budget! But can you road trip with medical marijuana?
There are some regulations you need to be informed about before you embark on your trip. Read on for a guide to traveling with medical marijuana (MMJ).
How to travel with medical marijuana
You’ll want to feel as carefree as possible once your road trip begins, but there are some things you should keep in mind when planning your trip so that you don’t have to spend time worrying about them later.
Plan out your route
Some road-trippers like to make decisions on where they’re going spontaneously. This can be a little trickier when you’re driving with MMJ products in your car, because you need to be careful where your route is taking you.
Anytime you enter a new area (especially a new state), you’ll need to be aware of what the legal limits are for carrying MMJ products. A little research ahead of time can ensure that you’re following the law no matter where your travels take you.
Try to avoid crossing state lines
Because cannabis is still illegal on a federal level, you do have to be cautious when you road trip with medical marijuana in different states. In general, it’s not a great idea to cross state lines with MMJ products in your car, because you’re breaking federal law.
If you transport marijuana outside the state in which you purchased it, you could be cited for possession (a misdemeanor that could cost you a $1,000 fine and/or a year in jail!) if you get pulled over by law enforcement. In some cases, you could face even harsher penalties, such as a drug trafficking charge of up to five years of prison time and/or a $250,000 fine.
If crossing into another state is a definite part of your itinerary, try to wait and purchase your MMJ products once you’re in the new state to avoid crossing state lines with cannabis already in your vehicle.
Do not consume MMJ products if you’re going to be driving
In many ways, the law views intoxication from cannabis the very same way as it does alcohol. If you’re found to be under the influence of marijuana (even if it was prescribed), you could be charged with a DUI.
To avoid any issues, make sure that someone else is driving if you’re going to be using your MMJ products, or wait until the cannabis has left your system before getting behind the wheel.
Store the MMJ as far away from the driver’s seat as possible
If you’re wondering how to travel with cannabis in the car, the answer is to keep it completely separate from the driver. Your safest bet is to stash it in the trunk or in the backseat, so if you do get pulled over, law enforcement will not have reason to suspect you’ve been dosing while you’re driving.
In the same vein, try to keep your containers sealed (some states require MMJ product be stored in childproof containers with specific seals on them). Either way, remember to never consume marijuana while the vehicle is in motion – which means no open containers while you’re out on the road.
Only carry the legal limit of MMJ for the state you’re in
It’s a good idea to only possess as much cannabis as the legal limit allows in the area where you’re traveling. You might have more difficulty with law enforcement if you’re pulled over and they find a large quantity of marijuana in your car.
It might be inconvenient to have to purchase more frequently during your trip, but it can be safer to have smaller amounts in your possession at any one time.
Have your MMJ card with you at all times
Carrying your MMJ card with you can help protect you if law enforcement wants to know why you have cannabis (especially in states where recreational marijuana is also illegal). To go one step further, you can bring a note from your doctor that explains your health condition and why you need MMJ to help treat it.
It’s always better to have these two things with you rather than risk ending up wishing you had packed them.
Research the stops you’ll be making to see if it’s legal to have marijuana
There are many places in the US where it’s still illegal to consume marijuana (especially state parks and some rest stops). To make sure you’re always on the right side of the law, look up all of the places you’ll be stopping or staying overnight to find out what their policies are about cannabis possession and consumption.
Use MMJ products with discretion
Wherever possible, it’s safest to use your cannabis products discreetly or in private. You’re much less likely to draw attention to yourself (from law enforcement, campground owners, other travelers, etc.) if you’re dosing in a less overt way.
Think about switching to tinctures or edibles
On the same note, if you want to make sure you’re using your products with discretion, consider switching the form in which you’re ingesting them. For example, tinctures or edibles are much harder to spot and can be more portable, so you’re less likely to have any problems using these types of MMJ products.
There’s no better time to take a road trip in the US. Try to remember these tips and use your MMJ products responsibly during your entire journey. With everything from gorgeous state parks to fun city sights, road-tripping allows you to see everything the country has to offer – without requiring you to leave your MMJ at home!
Featured image by Averie Woodard on Unsplash