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Which States Welcome Out of State Cannabis Patients?

Matt Weeks

If your state doesn’t recognize medical cannabis, sometimes your neighbor will, just be warned that you can’t cross state lines with it.

A new executive action will make Washington, D.C. the latest medical cannabis destination to allow out of state patients access to medicinal weed.

The new rules, which come alongside a bundle of proposed legislation championed by Mayor Muriel Bowser, is meant to help ease medical cannabis patients’ travel to D.C. Technically, it’s a loosening of an earlier law that allowed patients from states with “equivalent programs” access to medical dispensaries in D.C. 

But the new law is an important step forward for the district, which joins several other states in allowing out of state patients to receive cannabis prescriptions. 

As medical cannabis is increasingly legitimized alongside public support, many patients have begun to demand access laws like these. Unlike with normal prescriptions, people who rely on prescribed cannabis for treatment cannot legally transport their medication across states lines. 

out of state lines

 A Patchwork of Laws

Today’s medicinal cannabis patient faces serious legal and ethical concerns when they want to travel. Because the federal government controls interstate commerce and because it considers cannabis a schedule I illicit substance, transporting the plant across state lines is a federal crime. 

Other states have other laws, and keeping them straight is difficult. Most state cannabis laws are in a regular pattern of flux as the populations become accustomed, medical research finds further evidence of support, and tax coffers feel the benefits. 

Here’s a quick rundown of how out of state patients are treated in all the legal U.S. states.

Alaska

Anyone traveling to Alaska from out of state can enjoy complete recreational legalization. So it’s easy for patients 21 and up to get access to cannabis medicine even without a medical cannabis card. 

Arizona

Out of state patients can cannot refill their prescriptions at Arizona dispensaries. Also, patients cannot possess more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis. 

Arkansas

Visitors to Arkansas with valid medical cannabis cards must fill out an online application for a 30-day window in which to purchase and carry weed within the state. The online form needs about two weeks to process, and requires a fee. Unlike some other states, Arkansas does not turn a blind eye to interstate cannabis transport, so out of state patients should buy new medicine within state lines and throw it away before departing. 

California

Another state that has legalized recreational cannabis, California allows anyone over 21 to buy weed from any dispensary. You can possess up to 28.5 grams of dried cannabis flower or five grams of concentrated oil. 

Colorado

Another bastion of good law, Colorado allows all out of state visitors over 21 to buy and possess up to one ounce of weed. It’s easy and fun. 

out of state prescriptions

Illinois

Non-residents of Illinois benefit from full recreational legalization. The possession limit for out of state patients is 15 grams of cannabis flower, 2.5 grams of concentrates, and 250 grams of edibles. 

Maine

Main voters have faced an uphill battle for cannabis sales. But despite a governor’s veto and a few legislative setbacks, Maine is set to legalize recreational consumption in 2020. The provisionally adopted rules can be found here, but they’re subject to change.

Currently, Maine allows most out of state patients to use dispensaries with a proper ID, and allows all adults over 21 to possess up to 2.5 ounces without facing charges. If you’re thinking about going to Maine soon, read up on the rules to see if you’ll be able to refill your prescriptions (you probably can) or if you should just bring enough of your own supply to get you through the visit. 

Maryland

While medical cannabis is legal for Maryland residents with proper credentials, visitors to the Terrapin State are out of luck. While they once could gain access, The State’s website notes that “Effective December 14, 2017 the Commission extended the administrative hold on out-of-state patient applicants until further notice … applicants who live outside the State may not access medical cannabis at Maryland licensed dispensaries.”

Massachusetts

A fully legalized recreational state, Massachusetts allows all adults over 21 to possess one ounce of cannabis flower and five grams of concentrates, provided they have government-issued ID cards (not medical cannabis cards). 

Michigan

All things are easy in Michigan, which has legalized recreational cannabis. 

Minnesota

Sorry. Doncha know that Minnesota does not allow out of state patients to access or consume medical cannabis within its boundaries. 

Montana

Montana has a very limited medical cannabis program that does not allow out of state visitors access.

Nevada

The Silver State is a good one for visitors, who can use their home state IDs provided they sign an affidavit. 

Dispensary in Nevada advertising its goods.

New Hampshire

Liberal New Hampshire accepts out of state medical cannabis cards, they just have to qualify for conditions accepted in New Hampshire.

New Jersey

No luck for visitors to New Jersey. Your home state medical cannabis cards are no good here. Although the regular medical cannabis system is surprisingly effective.  

New Mexico

As of July 1st 2019, out of state cards are not accepted in New Mexico. 

New York

The Empire State does not allow non-New Yorkers access to their medical cannabis. It feels like a very New York thing to do. 

North Dakota

The limited medical cannabis program in North Dakota is good for home growers, but bad for visitors, who cannot obtain cannabis. 

Ohio

Nope.

Oklahoma

The Oklahoma program allows visitors to apply for a 30-day medical cannabis ID card for $100.  They can be renewed every 30 days, for another $100.

Oregon

Oregon has recreational cannabis, and while you’re not free to smoke up just anywhere, you can buy the good stuff pretty easily. 

out of state

Rhode Island

Rhode Island allows medical cannabis patients from elsewhere to buy cannabis in its dispensaries, but only for conditions approved by Rhode Island law. Those include cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, hepatitis C, seizures, chronic pain, chronic nausea, Crohn’s disease, and more. 

Vermont

Vermont is fully recreational. Go wild. 

Washington

As the first state to legalize recreational cannabis, Washington is happy to have visitors stop and shop.

Washington, D.C.

Yup. As mentioned above, the executive order now allows out of state patients.

A note: A lot of medical cannabis law is confusing and subject to change. Before planning a trip anywhere, be sure to consult the state’s medical cannabis program via phone or website and then double-check. 

After all, it’s bad to be without your medicine, it’s worse to be in jail

Avatar
Matt Weeks

A writer living and working in Athens, GA, Matt's work has appeared in various newspapers, books, magazines and online publications over the last 15 years. When he's not writing, he hosts bar trivia, plays in local bands, and makes a mean guacamole. He holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master's degree in organizational theory. His favorite movie is "Fletch."

2 Comments
  • Avatar
    Harley BUD

    NM just enacted reciprocity July 1st.
    You need to update this and include every state.

    August 22, 2019 at 12:40 am Reply
    • Jennifer Grant

      Thanks Harley.

      August 22, 2019 at 9:24 am Reply

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