Medical Marijuana Card Reciprocity: State-by-State Breakdown

Medical Marijuana Card Reciprocity: State-by-State Breakdown

Published on Mar 9, 2021

We've heard the question "can I use my medical card in another state?" plenty of times. Unfortunately, the answer isn't always easy and always depends on what state you come from and where you're going. This is where marijuana reciprocity comes in, and we've written a guide to answer all of your questions.

What is Medical Marijuana Reciprocity?

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Medical marijuana reciprocity is the term used to designate particular states in the U.S. with laws allowing patients to legally purchase medical marijuana when they are not in their home state where the card was issued. There are some states with dispensaries that accept out of state IDs due to reciprocity and some medical marijuana states that will not honor cards that their state government did not issue. There are also states that allow patients to travel into their states with their medicine but not purchase it in their dispensaries.

How Many States Have Legalized Medical Marijuana?

As of November 2020, marijuana is legal for medical use in 36 states (including the District of Columbia), with California leading the way in 1996. As you might expect, the manner in which patients can get a card varies from state to state. All states with legal medical cannabis require a board-certified doctor to approve the prescription, but restrictions range from only allowing patients to legally use marijuana for a short list of extreme diseases (Florida), to having no restrictions other than a doctor's approval (Oklahoma). Some states with medical marijuana laws on the books might only recognize it in theory; for example, Florida legalized medical weed in 2016 but only just made the act of smoking said medical marijuana in 2019. Be sure when looking into what states have legalized medical marijuana that you study each state's laws carefully.

How to Get a Card in Medical Marijuana States

The process of getting a medical marijuana card begins with a visit to the doctor. This can be done remotely in some states and must be done in person in others. Additionally, some states require physicians who plan to prescribe cannabis to get an additional certification, while others allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for medical use without any specific training on the subject. Some states require patients to meet with certain physicians that have been selected to legally prescribe cannabis for medical use while in other states any primary care physician can make a diagnosis and write a prescription. In general, the patient will describe his/her symptoms and why cannabis might be a good fit as a potential treatment. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

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Does California accept out of state MMJ cards?

Yes. Medical cannabis is legal for adults who are over 21 and have a valid ID. Patients may possess up to 28.5 grams of flower. One type of medical marijuana card California offers is designed specifically for visitors and tourists.

Does Colorado accept out of state medical cards?

No. A Colorado medical card out of state might work, but an out of state medical card in Colorado will not. Remember, however, that recreational cannabis can be purchased in Colorado by anyone over 21 with a valid ID.

Does Illinois accept out of state medical cards?

No, unfortunately, Illinois does not have reciprocity.

Does Michigan accept out of state medical marijuana cards?

Yes, but only if the patient's home state also offers reciprocity.

What states can I use my MA marijuana card in?

Massachusetts offers reciprocity so patients can use a card from MA in every other state that has medical marijuana reciprocity. Those states are Arkansas, California, Hawaii (with a Hawaii registration card), Maine, >Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma (with a temporary license), Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. Check the state's law to confirm its particular rules and processes prior to arriving.

What states have legalized medical marijuana but do not have reciprocity?

Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Jersey, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia.

Traveling with Medical Marijuana

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Carrying your medical marijuana around the country can be problematic. Some states like New Jersey and Arizona allow patients with out of state medical marijuana cards to possess and use cannabis even if they cannot legally make a purchase at a dispensary. That being said, it is still a federal offense to carry controlled substances across state lines. The DEA recognizes cannabis as a Schedule I drug and carrying medical weed across state lines would place you in direct violation of the Controlled Substances Act. Plane travel puts patients at risk of losing their medicine because TSA agents are required to report any marijuana they find. This might only result in your cannabis being confiscated but it could also result in severe penalties. All things considered, it's probably best to leave your medical is at home and hope that you can make a purchase at your destination. 

Do you carry a medical marijuana card? Have you traveled and used it out of your home state? Has medical marijuana card reciprocity influences where you travel? Take a moment and let us know in the comments section below.


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