Happy holidays, everyone! What are your plans this season? Will you be traveling to see loved ones, settling by the fire and enjoying a nice hot cup of cocoa as Little Susie and Johnny open their new toys? Maybe you won’t be doing exactly that, but we all know traveling plays a big part in a lot of people’s holiday plans. And if you’re a medical marijuana patient, this could turn out to be a major stress. So, how do you deal with transporting your cannabis? We did our research and found the best ways to get your medication from point A to point B with as little hassle as possible. Here’s what we found:
Flying with Medical Marijuana
First of all, if you plan on flying with your marijuana, be careful! Because airports and airplanes are federal jurisdictions, it is possible for medical marijuana patients to be detained and arrested when going through security, and get slapped with a minimum of a $1,000 fine for possession. Even if you have a medical marijuana card, these strict rules still apply.
However, some airports can be medical marijuana “friendly” and allow patients with correct documentation and preparation to board and fly. Below are three tips to remember when traveling with medical marijuana:
• Pack proper documentation – Patients who are appropriately registered should, first and foremost, carry their medical marijuana cards or valid physician’s letter. Remember though that these will not serve as any protection from criminal charges.
• Pack only the prescribed amount you need – As a rule of thumb, avoid traveling with more than the allowed state minimum of medical marijuana.
• Pack well and not suspiciously – Pack your medication in your carry-on. If it’s in a well-sealed container (no smell) and you prepared for your travels (see Be Honest below), moving through security should be less of a hassle.
• Know the regulations – Research the regulations/processes of the airports and states you’re flying into/out of to be aware of all possible situations. States without medical marijuana laws can arrest patients under possession laws, even if the patient is registered in their home state.
• Know your rights and responsibilities - As a patient, understanding your rights and responsibilities will help you handle most situations accordingly. Always ask an authority if you are unsure of the law.
• Don’t travel internationally - As a general rule, never travel internationally with any amount of medical marijuana unless you want to take the risk of being detained, arrested, charged, missing your flight, and having your medicine confiscated.
• Be upfront with your intentions – If you’re going to fly out of/into an airport that is medical marijuana ‘friendly’, call ahead of time to ask about their process and let them know your intentions. Sometimes local police may be surprisingly cooperative.
• TSA powers - The TSA doesn’t search specifically for drugs. However, at the end of the day (when marijuana is detected), they are a federal agency and do not consider marijuana legal under any circumstances. They will refer to local law enforcement who end up deciding your situation.
Driving with Medical Marijuana
Driving to your destination with medication is the safest mode of transportation for traveling patients. Private bus and train companies may remove passengers at their own discretion who appear under the influence or are known to possess medical marijuana, even with proper documentation. Be sure to follow the rules above (with the exception of notifying local enforcement of your intentions) when using these types of transportation.
Leaving it Behind
Ultimately, if traveling with medical marijuana proves to be too much of a hassle, reach out to your dispensary for more tips and solutions. Leaving your medication behind and buying from a local dispensary (at your final destination) can lessen the stress. You may want to research local dispensaries ahead of time to prepare for your needs.
What We’ve Learned
Holiday vacations can be stressful enough as it is, and traveling with medication can be the cherry on top. In order to make transportation less worrisome, always remember to be prepared, be aware, and be honest.
For more articles and resources on traveling with medical marijuana, follow the links below: