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Can I Use My Medical Card in Another State?

As a medical cannabis patient, you’ve probably found yourself wondering, “Can I use my medical card in another state?”

The quick answer is “yes.” But even though state medical marijuana cards can be used elsewhere, you might find it difficult to purchase medical marijuana in some states.

This holds especially true if you’re in a state that doesn’t offer medical marijuana.

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Patient Medical Marijuana Accessibility

Medical cannabis is becoming more accessible to patients. And if you find yourself traveling, you’ll find that some medical marijuana programs will accept out-of-state patients.

In this article, we’ll discuss medical marijuana reciprocity and the rules surrounding purchasing medical marijuana out of state.

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Can Medical Marijuana Patients Buy Out of State?

Holding a medical marijuana card shouldn’t stop you from traveling, even if your destination doesn’t have medical marijuana laws. But if you’re someone who needs their medical cannabis to function, you’re likely wondering whether your medical marijuana card will work in another state.

State medical marijuana cards allow MMJ patients access to medical cannabis. In some cases, medical marijuana is essential for the patient to feel normal. However, sometimes, medical cannabis is the treatment that keeps chronic pain at bay.

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Know the Rules

It’s important to keep in mind that rules for purchasing medical cannabis vary by state. So make sure you do your research before making a trip.

Even though a state may not have MMJ laws, it might be possible to purchase the drug in another state. However, transporting medical marijuana across state lines violates federal law.

Thus, it’s usually best to use state medical marijuana cards in the state you reside in. But if you find yourself traveling and hoping the dispensary will accept out-of-state MMJ cards, make sure to leave the medical marijuana in the state it was purchased to avoid legal trouble.

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Medical Marijuana Reciprocity

Medical marijuana reciprocity means that medical marijuana cardholders from one state can purchase medical cannabis in another.

This means that some states recognize each other’s medical marijuana cards. In essence, a state’s MMJ program will honor a patient from another state.

What does it mean if a state accepts out-of-state patients?

If a state will accept out-of-state medical patients, this means your medical cannabis card will work. But keep in mind that each state has different rules surrounding medical marijuana.

For example, some states allow out-of-state patients to purchase and possess medical marijuana if they bring a doctor’s note from their home state.

And some states will ask out-of-state patients to show proof they have their medical marijuana card before they purchase marijuana.

Keep in mind, just because a state has an MMJ program doesn’t mean the dispensary will sell to you. Your out-of-state medical card might not be accepted.

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States That Allow Medical Marijuana Reciprocity

While you might have a medical marijuana card, you still may not be allowed to buy cannabis at a dispensary in a state that’ll accept a local medical marijuana card.

Here’s a list of the states that will accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards and let you buy marijuana. Some will even let you buy recreational marijuana without a card.

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Alaska

Unfortunately, Alaska’s MMJ program doesn’t accept out of state medical cannabis cards. But you can still buy up to an ounce of recreational marijuana.

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Arizona

Limited reciprocity is available in Arizona. But you must be considered a visiting qualifying patient. This means you’ll need to have an out-of-state medical marijuana card and live outside of the state.

However, if you hold an out-of-state medical cannabis card and have lived in Arizona for fewer than 30 days, you can also qualify. Qualifying patients need an MMJ card in their home state and have a condition that is within Arizona’s medical marijuana card criteria.

Here’s a list of Arizona’s qualifying conditions:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Chronic and severe pain
  • Severe nausea
  • Seizures/epilepsy
  • Muscle spasms
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Human immunodeficiency virus/Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • Hepatitis C
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

If you have a medical marijuana card in Arizona, you can legally purchase medical marijuana from an Arizona dispensary or designated caregiver.

Arizona also legalized recreational marijuana in 2021. The possession limit for recreational cannabis is up to 2.5 ounces.

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California

Proposition 64 is the new law that allows adults in California to legally purchase and consume cannabis. With possession limits at 28.5 grams for flowers or 5g of concentrates, you are sure to find what works best with your needs!

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Colorado

Visiting Colorado? Just like in California, you can buy cannabis if you have a valid government-issued ID and are 21 or older. The possession limit for non-residents is one ounce of flower.

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Illinois

Illinois is a state that has legalized both medical and recreational marijuana. But medical marijuana reciprocity isn’t permitted.

Out-of-state residents can only purchase certain products in Illinois. Those who are 21 years old or older may have up to 15 grams of cannabis, 250 milligrams of infusions, and 2.5g concentrate form.

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Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C. permits reciprocity from some states. The list includes:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Virginia
  • Washington

Even though D.C. has decriminalized cannabis and made it legal for adult use, the only people allowed to buy their products from dispensaries are MMJ patients. At this point, D.C. does not allow retail sales.

Even if your state isn’t on the list, you’re allowed to bring your medicine into Washington D.C. However, you’re only allowed to have up to 2 ounces of cannabis flower for personal use. Concentrates and hashish are still illegal. Also, make sure you do not consume marijuana on federal property.

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Maine

Maine allows adults at least 21 years or older to possess and consume marijuana. Even though retail operations were set to open in 2018, the state has pushed that deadline back.

Even with this being the case, adults are allowed to have up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana flower and 5 grams of concentrates or hashish. Some medical marijuana patients can buy products from Maine’s medical dispensaries. However, you’ll need to have the right identification.

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Patients from States that Maine Accepts

At this point, Maine lets qualified patients buy medical cannabis if they’re from:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Washington, DC.
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Massachusetts

Adults 21 years old or older in Massachusetts can legally use cannabis for either recreational or medicinal purposes. Adults are allowed one ounce of flowers and five grams of concentrates as long as they have valid government-issued identification.

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Michigan

Michigan’s dispensaries have a choice to make. If you go into a dispensary in this state, they might be willing to recognize your out-of-state medical cannabis card. But the state also legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2018.

Thus, if you’re 21 years old or older, you can have up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower or up to 15 grams of concentrates on your person. Medical marijuana is accessible throughout the state at dispensaries.

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Montana

Montana’s cannabis reciprocity is comparable to other states. MMJ cardholders can come in from out of state to buy and consume cannabis during their stay.

Now that Montana is legalized for adult use, people 21 and older can possess, use, and grow up to an ounce of marijuana, and the state expects retail sales to start by 2022.

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Nevada

Nevada legalized recreational marijuana in 2017. Now adults 21 and older can buy and consume cannabis recreationally. Medical marijuana has been legal in Nevada since 2000, and this state offers reciprocity with all other states.

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Who can buy cannabis in Nevada?

Anyone 21 years old or older is allowed to have up to 1 ounce of cannabis flower, edibles, or topicals, as well as 3.5 grams of cannabis concentrates. As a medical cannabis patient or caregiver, you can also buy up to 2.5 ounces of flower, edibles, concentrates, or topicals every two weeks.

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New Hampshire

New Hampshire allows out-of-state medical marijuana patients to have up to 2 ounces of cannabis flower. However, patients from other states cannot buy from local dispensaries. Patients must have a qualifying medical condition listed in the New Hampshire medical marijuana program.

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New Jersey

New Jersey is another state that’s willing to recognize all other states’ MMJ cards. Anyone who has registered under their home state medical marijuana program gets reciprocity under the Garden State’s medical marijuana program for a period of up to six months.

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Can out-of-staters get MMJ certified in New Jersey?

Yes! New Jersey doctors are also willing to certify out-of-state medical marijuana patients. Patients can hold up to 3 ounces of flower at a time, as well.

New Jersey also now allows recreational cannabis. 

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Oklahoma

Oklahoma also allows out-of-state medical cannabis cards. The Sooner State lets out-of-staters buy from the medical dispensaries once they apply for their temporary license. This license is $100 and is valid for 30 days. However, it takes around 2 weeks of processing time.

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How much cannabis can a patient possess in Oklahoma?

Once approved, patients are allowed to possess:

  • Up to eight ounces of marijuana at home
  • As much as three ounces of marijuana on their person
  • As much as one ounce of concentrated marijuana
  • As much as 72 ounces of edible marijuana
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Oregon

At this point, Oregon doesn’t accept medical marijuana cards from other states. But even with this being the case, it’s possible to purchase recreational cannabis in this state. As long as you’re 21 years of age or older, you can buy cannabis.

What are Oregon’s cannabis limits like?

Oregon has limits on possession. You can have up to one ounce of cannabis flower, 16 ounces of solid infused edibles, an ounce of cannabis concentrates, 16 ounces of topicals, and 72 ounces of infused liquid.

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Rhode Island

Patients can bring a medical marijuana card and their government-issued ID card from their home state to gain access to this state’s dispensaries.

Can out-of-staters possess marijuana in this state?

Patients from other states can have the same amount of medical marijuana as in-state holders of a medical marijuana card. The limit for possession is up to 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis.

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Vermont

Vermont has allowed adult-use cannabis since 2018. However, even though adults can carry as much as 1 ounce of cannabis, the state lacks commercial dispensaries.

How does cannabis in Vermont work?

Vermont residents are the only ones with access to the state’s medical marijuana card program, and state-licensed medical dispensaries cannot sell to patients from other states.

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Utah

Utah is another state that demands visiting patients to qualify to get reciprocity. The state’s list of qualifying conditions includes:

  • Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Autism
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Debilitating Seizures
  • Epilepsy
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • Multiple Sclerosis or Persistent & Debilitating Muscle Spasms
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Terminal illnesses with life expectancy <6 months
  • Conditions resulting in hospice care
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 
  • Persistent illness-related nausea that doesn’t respond to traditional treatment
  • A rare condition or disease that impacts fewer than 200,000 people living in the United States, as defined by federal law, and remains unmanageable, despite treatment attempts using conventional medications other than opioids or opiates or physical interventions
  • Pain lasting longer than two weeks that isn’t adequately managed, in a qualified medical provider’s opinion, even with treatment attempts using conventional medications other than opioids or opiates or physical interventions.
  • Conditions approved by the Compassionate Use Board, once it’s established
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Washington

Washington state has also legalized adult-use marijuana. Anyone 21 years of age or older is allowed to buy marijuana at dispensaries throughout this state.

What else does Washington state allow?

Adults can have up to an ounce of cannabis flower, 15 ounces of edibles, 72 ounces of infused drinks, or seven grams of cannabis concentrate.

States Without MMJ Reciprocity

Even though medical marijuana is legal in the following states, they don’t allow medical patients from outside the state to legally purchase medical cannabis.

medical-marijuana-Georgia

Georgia

Unlike Georgia the country (flag pictured above), Georgia the US state has legalized medical marijuana. However, a medical marijuana patient from out of state cannot buy it there. Without reciprocity laws, qualified patients from other states are not allowed to purchase cannabis for medicinal use. 

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Hawaii

Hawaii doesn’t recognize medical cannabis patients from other states. An out-of-state card will not work here. However, cannabis patients from other states are allowed to apply for the Hawaiian MMJ program.

Who can apply for the Hawaiian MMJ program?

Anyone who has a serious or terminal condition will have their application fast-tracked to ensure they can buy medical marijuana during their visit.

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Minnesota

Minnesota also does not allow legal access to medical cannabis products for MMJ patients from other states. However, if you have only a handful of marijuana (42.5 grams) on you, it’s a petty misdemeanor.

What happens to Minnesota cannabis law violators?

Despite being legally permitted to have cannabis products in other states, Minnesota might order first-time offenders to go to drug rehab. The state law also allows for a fine of as much as $300.

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Missouri

Missouri’s medical marijuana laws do not permit registered patients with an out-of-state medical cannabis card or certification to have medical marijuana.

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New York

New York legalized recreational cannabis, but you cannot legally purchase cannabis in this state just yet. The state’s reciprocity laws do not recognize out-of-state medical marijuana cards or certificates.

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Ohio

Ohio’s MMJ program does not offer reciprocity. If you’re not registered with the state’s Medical Marijuana Control Program, possession of fewer than 100 grams of cannabis is a minor misdemeanor charge punishable by a fine of as much as $150. 

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Virginia

Virginia also lacks medical marijuana reciprocity laws. However, you don’t need to worry about criminal prosecution here. The state decriminalized marijuana in 2020.

Can you get in trouble for having marijuana in Virginia?

At this point, the state law implements a maximum penalty of up to $25 for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana, and no arrest or criminal record will be imposed.  

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Pennsylvania

Even though Pennsylvania’s state laws allow cannabis for medicinal use, the state is pretty strict. Out-of-state MMJ patients that are minors can no longer get cannabis in Pennsylvania.

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West Virginia

West Virginia only allows terminally ill cancer patients in states with comparable medical cannabis programs to lawfully use and purchase within its state lines.

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Which States Let Outsiders Purchase Medical Marijuana?

Some states accept out-of-state MMJ cardholders. Others only allow these patients to purchase recreational marijuana during their visits.

As a patient, it’s crucial to know the reciprocity laws of each state you’ll visit. Otherwise, you may not have access, even though state residents can buy medical marijuana legally.

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State Laws May Restrict Patient Access

Since state MMJ cards don’t always work across state lines, it might be necessary to purchase recreational marijuana in some states. However, sometimes, it’s up to the dispensary owner’s discretion as to whether you’ll receive medical marijuana during your stay.

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States that Offer a State Medical Marijuana Card

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C.
  • West Virginia

The following is a list of the above states that will accept a state medical marijuana card from another state:

  • Arkansas
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Washington D.C.
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Purchase Medical Cannabis Out of State

If the dispensary will not accept out-of-state MMJ cards, your best bet is to avoid products that require a medical card. This usually means turning to recreational cannabis.

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Recreational Marijuana Options

Some states might not accept your MMJ card, but they might accept an ID from your home state. This means you’ll need to purchase recreational marijuana during your stay.

The best way to avoid making a costly buying mistake is by doing research on the dispensary beforehand. Ask the owner whether they will sell medical cannabis products to non-state residents.

Remember, you can still find the perfect strain and potency among recreational products. For example, Colorado’s recreational side offers a wider selection of THC levels than its medical side. That said, there are medical marijuana dispensaries that offer specific strains to suit your needs (sativa, indica, or hybrid) if you do not plan on purchasing from a retail store.

As long as you’re willing to adhere to the state laws, including the possession limit, you should have no trouble finding what you need at a recreational dispensary. Even though medical marijuana use may vary between strains, at least you can still purchase cannabis within state lines if it allows medical and recreational cannabis or even recreational alone.

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Accessible Medical Cannabis with Alpacannabis

Remember, crossing state lines with marijuana is a federal crime. While state MMJ cards will allow you to legally possess and sometimes purchase your medicine in other states, marijuana is still federally illegal.

Marijuana is legal in some states. Recreational sales and state MMJ programs permit legal sales. But it’s important to know and understand the possession limit in the state you’re in.

We do not recommend buying medical cannabis in another state unless it’s sold by a dispensary that accepts out-of-state medical cards.

If you need help finding a dispensary that serves patients from your state, check Google Maps. Google has listings of local dispensaries that accept patients and recreational users, depending on the state you’re in. And if you’re new to the area, this can come in handy.

As a patient, it’s your duty to know if your medical card will work in the states you visit. And if need be, remember, you may still be able to possess cannabis legally if marijuana is legal for recreational sales or decriminalized.

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Need Help Getting Your MMJ Card?

Looking for help getting an MMJ card? Contact us now for expert assistance! We have recommendations for the best doctors in your area and are happy to help!

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