Three Harsh Truths About Medical Marijuana Laws That You Should Know Before You Travel

Posted on: 10 April 2015

If you're a medical marijuana patient, traveling to and from work or vacation can present some unusual problems. Even if medical marijuana is legal in your state, you can end up facing drug charges over a traffic stop. Here are 3 harsh truths about medical marijuana you should know before you hit the road.

1.) It isn't legal to drive while on medical marijuana.

Depending on the state that you live in, the mere presence of any marijuana in your system is enough to convict you on a driving under the influence (DUI) charge. In other states, there is a legal threshold. Anything under that legal threshold amount isn't enough to convict you.

A lot of people don't realize that they can be legally prescribed marijuana but still arrested for driving while under its influence. A lot depends on whether or not you give a police officer probable cause to pull you over and make a traffic stop - but anything from a wide right-hand turn to a fender bender can be enough probably cause to launch a DUI investigation.

2.) If you are traveling out of state for work or vacation, you may not be able to take your medication.

This is a particularly contentious point with both advocates of medical marijuana use and those who are against it, but since not all states have legalized its use, you can get arrested for having medical marijuana on you if you cross the wrong state line. It won't matter if you have the appropriate registrations card with your state and a doctor's letter. It doesn't matter that it is a legally prescribed medication in your home state.

If you are traveling out of state, you need to find out if the other states you are traveling to (or even just passing through) have reciprocal agreements with your state regarding the use of medical marijuana. In some cases, you may be able to use your medical marijuana card but obligated to purchase the marijuana within that state, rather than bring it with you. There may also be different possession limits than your home state, as well.

3.)  You can be presumed guilty of a marijuana offense and have to prove your innocence later.

Louisiana and Maryland allow the use of medical marijuana. However, if you are caught with marijuana in your possession you will be arrested and charged with a drug offense. Only once your case goes to court can you present the prosecutor or judge proof that you are a medical marijuana patient and ask for the charges to be dropped. Assuming the judge believes you, you'll avoid any further penalties. If you are traveling in or to one of those states and you have medical marijuana, be prepared to defend yourself if caught with the drug. Make sure that you keep your state registration card and doctor's letter with you at all times.

In general, the continually evolving medical marijuana laws are making it hard for people to understand just when and where their medication is legal. Traveling or driving with any amount of medical marijuana in your possession can expose you to unfair criminal charges if a police officer discovers it - even if you haven't taken any recently. If you're concerned about the legality of your medical marijuana as you travel or are facing a drug charge over medical marijuana use, contact an attorney who handles drug defense (like Kassel & Kassel A Group of Independent Law Offices) cases right away to discuss your case.