DC Medical Marijuana Program To Allow Out-of-State Patients
The winds of change continue to roll over Maryland. American University is reporting that DC medical marijuana dispensaries will now accept patients from out-of-state. We break down what this means for all medical marijuana patients.
Traveling with Weed
If you are a cannabis patient, you likely already know how awful planning a trip around your medication can sometimes be. It can be pretty easy to hide some cannabis products in your luggage, like edibles, creams or lotions. Other products, most notably dry flower, resin or oil tanks, are a little tougher to hide, or are much easier to detect.
Medical marijuana patients are largely protected from legal harm in their own state. But being caught with cannabis in other states is akin to being caught with heroine or meth. This makes traveling with medical cannabis more than a little scary.
I recently had to drive to Illinois from Ohio. I am protected as an Ohio medical marijuana patient in the Buckeye State. Illinois also allows medical cannabis (and soon recreational cannabis), so there’s a modicum of protection there, too. Indiana, however, is about as anti-pot as a state can get. Driving through that place with my medication in my luggage was more than a little unnerving. And frankly, I couldn’t wait until my tires crossed the border into Illinois (and Ohio on the return trip).
Traveling with cannabis is dangerous. Until the federal ban on marijuana is lifted, police, highway patrol and other agents of the law can bust cannabis patients. It doesn’t matter how sick a patient may be. It doesn’t matter how old they are, or how much they may need their medication to survive. Penalties could be as simple as a small fine or being forced to attend drug addiction classes. But other states also add a jail sentence or a probation period. These types of sentences can leave a lasting dark mark on your permanent record, or leave damaging mental scars.
Reciprocity Between States
At current, most states do not offer reciprocity. Reciprocity would allow, for example, a Missouri medical marijuana patient to be able to use their card in any neighboring state with a medical marijuana program.
Reciprocity is tricky in that it still involves crossing state lines. Crossing state lines with drugs is considered a federal crime in the eyes of Uncle Sam. Many states tend to error on the side of caution and do not allow reciprocity in their states as a result, for fear of legal implications or the federal government pulling state funding. But that may be changing soon!
D.C. Vacation Time!
D.C. is looking to make things a little easier for medical marijuana patients traveling from out-of-state. The district announced in late August 2019 that their medical marijuana dispensaries will now accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards. This means that cannabis patients from all over the country will be able to travel to D.C. and buy their medical cannabis there without legal repercussions. No more need to travel with your cannabis if you can simply buy it when you get there.
“This emergency rulemaking is patient-centric,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser in a statement. “It ensures medical marijuana patients from other states can obtain their needed medicine. It will also promote public safety by allowing visitors to obtain their medicine at one of the District’s six — soon to be seven — authorized dispensaries rather than forcing them to go without or patronizing the illegal market.”
There are six operating medical marijuana dispensaries available in the D.C. area. Patients from out-of-state simply need to show their ID and official medical marijuana card at the dispensaries to be allowed admittance.
Now that 33 states have medical marijuana programs, with more on the way each year, it’s only a matter of time until more states or districts take the same turn as D.C. has done and consider legalizing medical cannabis for out-of-state MMJ cardholders.
It is your RIGHT as a patient to be able to medicate with your medicine. And a patient’s rights must be considered.
If a patient has cancer, it could very easily kill them. Patients with terminal cancer often travel around the nation to visit vacation spots, family and friends one last time before they worsen and pass away. And these types of patients may use cannabis to soothe their pain, and make coping with the inevitable a little easier to tolerate.
If states continue to ignore these types of cannabis patients, they continue to step on the rights of an American, and they continue to step on a patient’s overall health, too. And this example of a cancer patient isn’t extreme. Having worked in the cannabis field for well over a year now, I have had this same story told to me by literally hundreds of patients.
Hooray for D.C.
Hats off to D.C. and hats off to Mayor Muriel Bowser. They’ve recognized that cannabis patients are ordinary people who have simply chosen to medicate with an alternative medicine. The more understanding and compassion lawmakers show toward cannabis and cannabis patients, the more we will see the negative stigmas of cannabis erase or disappear over time.
To obtain your Maryland or Missouri medical marijuana card, simply touch here or dial 1-877-242-0362. Our team can set you up with an evaluation at our Maryland or Missouri clinics. We now also offer telemedicine in Missouri, so patients can obtain their card no matter where they live. Click to learn more.