The holidays are here, and that means millions of Americans will be traveling away from their homes in order to visit friends and relatives for a time.
Unfortunately, the current mashup of laws in the United States regarding marijuana use may cause some confusion for travelers -- and that confusion could easily translate into criminal charges if they aren't careful.
If you use medical marijuana, here's a friendly guide:
Q: Can you travel with medical marijuana between states?
Safely, no. The federal government still considers marijuana possession and use to be illegal. You have the potential to run into trouble from law enforcement outside of your own state.
Don't take the chance, even if you are traveling to another marijuana-friendly state. The laws on possession and use vary considerably from one location to the next. Your medical marijuana card may be useless to protect you from a drug possession charge in another state.
Q: Can you take a plane inside your own state with medical marijuana?
No. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is clear about this. While the TSA website does inform fliers that agents aren't particularly interested in finding medical marijuana if you happen to have it on you, that doesn't mean you won't be prosecuted if they happen to find it.
If marijuana in any form is found on your person or in your luggage, TSA will turn the issue over to the authorities.
Q: Is it safe to travel by car with medical marijuana inside the state?
Generally, yes -- but with a bit of caution. Remember that drugged driving is as illegal as drunk driving, so make sure that you aren't affected by the cannabis before you get behind the wheel. To be absolutely safe, make sure that you aren't carrying more marijuana than you are legally allowed and keep it in your luggage in the trunk while you're on the road.
Mistakes happen and sometimes people end up in predicaments they don't expect where drugs are involved. If you find yourself facing charges over marijuana possession or anything else this holiday season, talk to an experienced attorney about your rights.