States that Accept Arizona Medical Marijuana Cards
Travelling Out of State as an Arizona Medical Marijuana Patient
by GERALD GAINES CEO Compassion First Caregiver Circle Arizona
Now that there are tens of thousands of Arizona Medical Marijuana patients in the state, it’s time to think about how our rights apply when we are travelling for business or pleasure outside of Arizona. Not so much, is the short answer. As always, this is not a legal blog, it is a business blog’s analysis of legal as well as other developments in the Arizona Medical Marijuana industry. Always get the opinion of a lawyer if you are contemplating any action regarding medical marijuana.
Montana, Michigan and Rhode Island are the only states where your Arizona Medical Marijuana card or doctor’s recommendation will be honored consistently by law enforcement. There are reports of other MMJ states providing reciprocal protection on an informal basis, but there is no protection for Arizona Medical Marijuana patients by law except in those three states.
California allows for same day registration as a patient, allowing out of state visitors to have the equivalent of a short-term license until their application is rejected. This is as good as reciprocity for Arizona Medical Marijuana patients, and a practical if costly solution to trips to our closest metro neighbor.
There is a big difference between expecting to have patient rights when you arrive in a new state, and trying to enforce or create patient rights if you are caught transporting medication across state lines or while driving through various states. Security personnel at Arizona airports have allowed Arizona Medical Marijuana patients with valid patient cards to pass through security. On occasion. There is no guarantee this is a broad policy, or that accepting Arizona Medical Marijuana cards will continue. Since as an Arizona Medical Marijuana patient you are always liable under federal law, they can choose to intercept you and your medication before you can board a plane. And, of course, you have to deal with whatever happens on landing.
One factor to consider is the criminal penalties in the state you are travelling to and through. Don’t let the comfort you’ve achieved with the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act because of our hard fought political victories blind you to your vulnerability if another state categorizes you as a recreational user. Again, I’m not the lawyer, and what really matters is how they enforce a law, not what’s on the books, so if I were you I would ask around before making a decision on whether or not to try to medicate away from home.
Another factor to consider is the exact form, strength and packaging of your medication. Some forms may be legal in some states, illegal in others. For instance, we’re debating in Arizona whether concentrates of marijuana should be protected, while in other states such products are clearly medicinal. I’ll make the obvious point that an ounce of skunk is a poor choice to pack.
We are all celebrating that we live in a country that has the freedom to produce something organic from the people like Proposition 203. That law has given us the structure and incentives to create a compassionate Arizona Medical Marijuana industry. One of the things we can be proud of is that we DID include a reciprocity program so that anyone from any other medical marijuana state can possess and use in Arizona. We hope the rest of the MMJ family of states will join in, and that as more states put the question of medical marijuana to their voters, then a de facto national standard of acceptance of medical marijuana patients can be achieved.
source: Caregiver Circle CEO Blog AZ