Traveling with medical cannabis can be challenging. By 2022, medical cannabis programs will be available in 38 states and New York State. It is currently legal to consume recreational cannabis in 21 states. In addition, each state has its laws, leaving medical cannabis patients wondering: “Can I use my NY medical card in another state? ”
There is a lot of complexity to the answer at present.
In the United States, the transportation of cannabis across state lines is illegal for medical cannabis patients. When you cross state lines with cannabis in your possession, regardless of whether you have a medical marijuana card, you are considered a federal drug trafficker.
This means that you will have to leave your medication at home when you travel, and you will have to determine whether you can legally obtain cannabis at your destination if at all possible.
Make sure you know the state’s laws and regulations regarding medical marijuana when you arrive at your destination. Continue reading to learn when and how your medical card may be used in other states.
What Is Medical Cannabis Reciprocity?
Reciprocity in the context of medical marijuana refers to whether each state has reciprocal (equal) laws regarding the legal purchase of medical marijuana by patients when they travel outside their home state. The reciprocity between some states and others varies, but some require tourists to obtain a new license that is only valid in their destination state.
Is New York reciprocal with any other states?
The laws of each state vary widely, so please read them carefully. Listed below are the states with specific registration requirements and laws. Here is a listing of all states where marijuana is legal for visitors and residents to buy, possess, and consume.
Recreational marijuana is legal in the following states:
- New York
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- Northern Mariana Islands
- Washington State
- Washington D.C
Medical cannabis options for out-of-state visitors
Although medical marijuana is legal in a specific state, it does not mean that patients who visit that state will have access to cannabis when they are visiting. To legally access medical cannabis for out-of-state patients, there are three main ways they can do so.
- Temporary in-state cards for visitors
- Adult-use (recreational) sales
Several states have decriminalized the possession of marijuana for patients with out-of-state cards. Still, those patients are not allowed to participate in the marketplace, so they can’t procure legal marijuana products.
The lack of clarity regarding cannabis laws across states can make it tempting for patients with medical marijuana cards who are traveling to ask a friend or relative to purchase cannabis for them (or to bring their cannabis across state lines).
It may be better to check if the state you are visiting has reciprocity agreements, temporary medical cards, or a legal gifting policy to obtain cannabis legally using a few extra steps rather than risking criminal penalties with these methods.
States That Allow Cannabis Sales to Out-of-State MMJ Cardholders
- Medical use with valid cards is legal in these states and territories for New Yorkers and visitors.
- Louisiana: From 8/1/22 onwards, patients from New York State seeking medical marijuana for their condition can buy it in Louisiana. The patient must have an ID card issued by the state’s central registry, or its equivalent, to prove their registration.
- Maine: Maine’s program has some conditions that need to be met to qualify. The adult market is also available to patients who are using the market for adult use.
- Michigan: Out-of-state cards can be accepted or rejected at the discretion of the dispensary.
- Nevada: Cards from out-of-state are accepted. It is also possible to use it as an adult.
- New Hampshire: New Hampshire requires that any patient visiting it must have a medical condition listed on its approved conditions before treatment.
- New Jersey: If you plan on visiting for up to six months, you may use an out-of-state card to pay. It is also legal for adults to use cannabis for recreational purposes.
- New Mexico: It was recently discovered by a state court that state-issued medical marijuana IDs (not just prescriptions or recommendations from doctors) are reciprocal in the state for consumers with a state-issued medical marijuana ID. Adults may also use cannabis for recreational purposes.
- Puerto Rico: Patients over the age of 21 may use out-of-state cards.
- Rhode Island: Specifically accepts out-of-state cards from patients who present a registry identification card (or its equivalent) as their residence proof.
- Washington D.C: Accepts out-of-state medical cannabis cards from 35 states.
Those of you who are medical marijuana patients should always make sure that you research the cannabis laws in each country you plan to visit. Ensure that you consult reputable sources for information, such as the government website for your state.
You should consult a NY Medical marijuana card medical professional with questions or concerns about the legality or the medical aspects.