June 9, 2021 03:30 pm ETEstimated Read Time: 6 Minutes
Cannabis legalization is happening in more places across the nation. This is leading to an increased availability to access legal cannabis for many people. Some people will have no issues surrounding purchasing cannabis and driving out of state because they don’t travel or they don’t live in an area where interstate travel becomes part of normal life. Other people aren’t so lucky, though. The current legal status of cannabis in America leaves many Americans puzzled, confused, and scratching their heads about what they can and can’t do. People are told that cannabis may be legal on a state level but is against the law on a federal level. This means that technically a federal agent could swoop in and arrest anyone for cannabis, even medical cannabis cardholders. In fact, some believe this is a great way for the government to keep track of all the lovers of cannabis.
Speaking from My Experience in Oklahoma
I live in Oklahoma, where we only have a medical cannabis market. Oklahoma does offer reciprocity to out-of-state visitors who have valid med cards. They can apply for a temporary card in the state of Oklahoma for their visit. If they happen to be driving through, they can’t just pop into a dispensary with their med card though and purchase cannabis. Our neighbor Arkansas accepts Oklahoma medical cannabis cards. When I visit Arkansas, I can go to a dispensary and purchase medical cannabis there as well as possess and consume it.
Missouri has cannabis dispensaries, but the market has been plagued with issues including mold since sales began. As an Oklahoma medical cannabis patient, however, that only lives 15 miles from the Missouri border, I am unable to visit dispensaries in the state as they do not offer reciprocity. I can, however, legally have my medicine there but it is still technically illegal to travel across the state line with it. 15 miles in the opposite direction however and it would put me in Kansas where cannabis of any form with high THC is highly prohibited, despite being surrounding by states that have legal access. Are you starting to see the confusion that patients living near state borders or that travel encounter?
You have to remain vigilant when traveling or when you are out exploring. As long as you don’t exceed the amount of cannabis you are allowed to have on you according to the regulation set forth by your medical cannabis card, you’re okay in most instances, as long as you are in a state with legal cannabis laws. Technically it is illegal to travel with cannabis across state lines, even if what you possess is legal in the states you are traveling from and to. Taking cannabis from Oklahoma into Arkansas is technically illegal according to current laws. A grower in Arkansas is not supposed to sell cannabis to a dispensary in Oklahoma and vice versa. Until the federal government removes the current scheduling of cannabis, this will always be a very questionable gray area.
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A Personal Encounter with Federal Agents in a Legal Medical Cannabis State
Not long ago, I took a trip to Arkansas to visit the Quachita mountains. The terrain here is absolutely beautiful. Of course, I had my medical cannabis with me. I never go anywhere without it. I ended up camping in the National Forest there for a few days while quartz crystal hunting. A federal forest agent walked up to our camp to basically check us out and make sure we weren’t breaking any laws. Upon walking up to him to say hello, the first thing he said to me was, “do you have marijuana on you”? I didn’t hesitate to tell him yes. The next thing I know, he’s asking to see my medical card as well as taking my cannabis back to his truck. Why he couldn’t have just stood in front of me, I’m not sure.
He had a partner with him that was very cool but him, not so much. He had a very negative old-school cop opinion about cannabis, or at least it seemed. After running my name and credentials he returned my medicine (a little short, but that’s a different story) and issued me a what I call a “couldn’t get me for the weed and was mad” ticket for parking a few feet off-road in a national forest. He reminded me that I was in a federal forest and that cannabis was still illegal on the federal level and that he could technically take me to jail if he so decided to. He didn’t though so I took the $250 fine happily and still visit the same spot regularly, with my meds in hand!
Is This Truly the UNITED States?
If I live in the United States of America, I believe that I should be able to travel openly and freely with anything deemed legal. I find it very disturbing that the elected representatives of our nation are okay with deadly and dangerous substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs being transported across state lines, but when it comes to cannabis, it’s still like the mid-1980s all over again. If the US federal government manages to eventually legalize cannabis or at least reschedule it, it could open doors allowing cannabis to be openly and freely transported across state lines.
Now I know that is going to ruin the day for some of you fine law enforcement officers who get a rise out of harassing innocent cannabis consumers. However, the police force is a state-funded public service office that receives extra funds in the form of government grants. Your lack of willingness to arrest cannabis consumers shouldn’t exclude you from accessing those government grants. Your willingness to arrest as many of them as possible shouldn’t be rewarded with these grants either. When it comes to the confusion about whether or not you can take your cannabis with you across state lines, just remember that legalization is still in the new phase. This means that while you may be able to get away with it, there might be times when it hinders you more of a headache than it’s worth. If you’re going to travel with medical cannabis, you make sure that you stay within your limits and do so responsibly.
Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist that fights to end prohibition globally for a better future for all. Ashley has a passion for sharing education pertaining to the goddess plant known as cannabis. She believes that a single seed can tip the scales and that together through education we can end the stigma that is preventing cannabis from flowering to its full potential globally.
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