If you are planning a trip and use medical marijuana, you have undoubtedly wondered what is the best way to store and transport the medication so that you are complying with all relevant federal and state laws. In this post, we’ll discuss the laws and issues surrounding transporting medical marijuana in various modes of transportation.
First and most importantly, NEVER operate a vehicle under the influence of marijuana or any other intoxicating substance.
If you must travel with your medical marijuana, we recommend doing so by vehicle. During travel, store the medical marijuana in a completely sealed and labeled container in your trunk. Always keep your Florida Medical Marijuana Use Registry card and a copy of your prescription on your person, along with contact information for your prescribing physician. Following these guidelines, you should be fine to travel within and between counties in the state of Florida.
However, even though medical marijuana is legal in Florida, it is still illegal for varying purposes in many states. You must consider this when planning travel that requires crossing state lines. Additionally, there are no reciprocity agreements between any states, Florida included, regarding medical marijuana programs or cards. So even though medical marijuana is also legal in Mississippi and Louisiana, Florida Medical Marijuana Use Registry Cards are not valid there.
In Alabama, no type of THC-containing cannabis is permitted, so getting caught there with your medical marijuana could be a big problem.
In states where marijuana is decriminalized, you could still end up in hot water depending on the amount of marijuana you have. In North Carolina, for example, possession of up to one-half ounce is decriminalized, but any amount above that can lead to criminal charges.
Then there are states like Georgia, where things are confusing, to say the least. In the city of Atlanta, possession of marijuana in an amount considered to be for personal use is decriminalized. A few other locations in Georgia have followed Atlanta’s lead on this, however, the state of Georgia still considers possession of marijuana in any amount criminal, except for a very small medical exclusion. Just like in Mississippi, there is no reciprocity between Georgia and Florida’s medical marijuana programs.
If you choose to travel across state lines with medical marijuana, it is always your responsibility to know the laws in that state and realize that if you are caught violating them, you could face legal consequences.
While individual states have differing laws on medical marijuana, the federal government has remained committed to its stance on all types of marijuana use, and it has been a resounding no. Even though decades of scientific research and anecdotal evidence have proven otherwise, as far as the United States government is concerned, marijuana for all purposes is just as illegal and dangerous as heroin.
So it should come as no surprise that traveling with marijuana on a commercial airplane in the United States is a touchy subject. However, in a surprise move by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in May 2019, they changed the rules to allow CBD-based medical marijuana products (containing less than 0.3% THC based on dry weight) and marijuana-based products approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through security checkpoints at airports. This still means that any type of marijuana product that they believe contains more than 0.3% THC is strictly prohibited.
Just because the TSA decided to allow certain marijuana products through security checkpoints didn’t mean that the airlines themselves would follow suit. As of 4/15/2022, the following major airlines continue to prohibit any type of marijuana products on their flights:
While these airlines seem more lenient and tend to follow TSA’s lead on what they do and do not allow:
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Allegiant Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
Just like when traveling by vehicle, if you do choose to attempt to board a commercial aircraft with medical marijuana, be sure to have your medical marijuana card, prescription, prescribing physician’s contact info, and probably the contact info for your attorney as well.
Private aircraft, such as chartered jets, all have their own rules for what is and is not allowed on their flights (although they are required by law to comply with TSA regulations in some circumstances). Check with the aircraft owner/operator for their specific rules.
The most popular train service in the U.S. is Amtrak, operating over 300 trains here and in Canada every day! But Amtrak has made their stance on medical marijuana possession on their trains very clear:
“The use or transportation of marijuana in any form for any purpose is prohibited, even in states or countries where recreational use is legal or permitted medically.”
Greyhound is the largest bus line operator in the U.S. There is no mention of medical marijuana on their restricted items list. However, since most people use Greyhound to travel across state lines, you would still need to think about how states other than Florida govern marijuana use. Also, you could run afoul of federal drug trafficking laws, depending on the amount you are traveling with. There have been several incidents of drugs, including marijuana, being seized on Greyhound buses. If you do choose to attempt travel on a Greyhound bus with medical marijuana, follow the same precautions mentioned above under Vehicle and Air travel.
There are many other, smaller bus line operators in the country. While they may all have their own specific rules regarding what they allow in baggage or onboard, passengers are still expected to comply with all applicable laws for the locations they travel through. Check with these individual operators for their specific restricted items lists.
Get Assistance Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card in Florida
Whether you stay in Florida all the time or like to jet-set all over the globe, the professionals at Hakunah Matata can help you get your Florida Medical Marijuana Use Registry card for your qualifying medical condition. Contact us at (239)789-6561 to schedule your medical marijuana consultation today, and be more at ease during trips knowing you have legitimate, state-issued documentation of your need for this life-changing medical treatment.