Everything You Need To Know About Crossing State Lines And Marijuana

Can I Cross States With Pot?

Whether you are a grower or a user, wouldn’t it be nice to travel freely with pot? If you are a grower, it would be an easy way for you to expand your market.

Having said that, while some states have legalized the consumption of marijuana, it is still illegal under federal law.

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Can I cross states with pot? Crossing pot from state to state is strictly prohibited regardless of whether the state has legalized marijuana. To start, federal law is clear in stating that marijuana is illegal. Several states allow for the use of marijuana, but not the exportation of it.

As you read this article, you will learn more about federal law and restrictions on marijuana from state to state.

I will also discuss the things to consider if you’re planning to travel with pot.

Factors to Consider When Transporting Pot

Whether or not you live in a place where pot has been legalized, you should always know the ins and outs.

This can mean the difference between a trip to heaven and a ride to hell.

Your Destination

Whatever your means of transport is, do thorough research as to whether marijuana is legal in your destination.

I assume you don’t want to spend your vacation in jail. I am not talking only about recreational marijuana, but also medicinal marijuana.

Several states do not allow for the recreational use of marijuana but permit the medicinal use of it. The rules vary from state to state.

Adult Use of Pot

The amount of legal marijuana consumption will depend on the state.

Remember that just because a state has legalized marijuana consumption does not mean you can abuse it.

There’s a law called purchasing and possession limits of cannabis despite a full-fledged adult-use framework.

Some states have stricter rules than others, so always check the law of each state along your travel route.

This guide will help you identify legal stores and the allowed consumption.

Legalized and Decriminalized Pot Possession

Fifteen states have decriminalized but not legalized pot possession. When a state decriminalizes pot, there’s no jail time, but there are still fines.

Repeated offenses will, however, result in harsher sentences.

Sadly, there’s no lawful way for backpackers to carry pot to a destination where its use and possession are illegal.

New York and Illinois are two states that have decriminalized pot but have not legalized its use.

Destinations With Medicinal Cannabis

As we all know, medicinal marijuana has been widely accepted all over the world.

However, even if you are a patient with prescriptions from your state, always check the state law of your destination.

Keep in mind that each state may have a different law from yours.

Do not give yourself problems with the law by making assumptions about reciprocity.

The requirements needed to obtain a temporary medicinal marijuana use will vary depending on the state.

For example, the state of Oklahoma allows patients to use medicinal marijuana if they carry valid out-of-state medical marijuana cards.

Some states do not have reciprocity laws that allow for out-of-state medical marijuana possession.

Tourists or visitors are strictly prohibited from bringing any medicinal marijuana with them.

Invest time doing in-depth research into medical marijuana laws at least a month ahead of your travel date.

This will give you a sufficient amount of time to process requirements for a temporary medical marijuana card.

Note that even if your destination offers reciprocity to out-of-state patients, there are still limits.

Travelers don’t have free rein to cross states with legally purchased medicinal marijuana.

Means of Transportation

Your mode of transportation is also a significant factor to consider when crossing state lines and carrying pot.

Whether you’ll be boarding a plane, taking the bus, or driving or renting a car, you have to plan this through.

Take time to understand the rules and regulations involved with each means to keep yourself safe and informed.

Traveling by Land and Sea

Land and sea transportation, such as boats, trains, and buses, tends to have restrictive policies regarding cannabis.

They do not easily permit people to carry marijuana, either medicinal or recreational.

Amtrak is the largest train company that provides transportation services in the United States and some Canadian cities.

It strictly prohibits passengers from carrying any form of cannabis.

This also applies to the three Amtrak lines in the entire state of California.

Several bus companies have the same policies.

Large boats and bus companies have the same guidelines in place, regardless of whether the use of marijuana has been decriminalized.

It would be best to coordinate with the travel company and confirm further information before boarding with your pot.

Traveling by Rented Car or Your Own Car

As stated above, traveling with cannabis is a federal offense punishable by law regardless of whether your destination has legalized cannabis.

However, if you’re going to be somewhere that has legalized adult-use pot, the laws are most likely to be less restrictive.

You can carry pot with you to places where it had been legalized and decriminalized, but with specific nuances to consider.

States with adult-use usually allow drivers to travel with pot but have limits for purchasing and possession.

If you are a 21-year-old who lives in California, then it would be legal for you to carry pot.

The acceptable and legal possession amount is 28.5 grams of marijuana and no more than 4 grams of concentrates.

However, remember, you cannot open the seal or container of cannabis while driving.

The major advice is to not carry any opened containers of cannabis with you when you’re driving.

It is understood that keeping a closed container is difficult. The best thing you can do is place it in a closed container and store it in your trunk.

Authorities are trained to identify the smell of cannabis. They will determine whether you have consumed pot once they pull you over.

Authorities at state lines are strict, and hardly anyone can trick them.

One thing that also raises suspicions is rental cars, especially if the car has an out-of-state license plate.

Authorities will immediately pull you over for inspection.

Traveling by Air

Airport security is among the most difficult systems to deal with. Airports are strict with everything, especially illegal substances.

You should always consider the policies of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In places where cannabis has been legalized, it is less likely for security to ask you to dispose of it.

However, in places where recreational use is entirely illegal, you will be detained and prosecuted.

Storing Weed on Your Travels

If you are done with your research about your destination, I’ll talk about storing cannabis.

Containing the smell of cannabis is very important regardless of how you plan to transport it.

Use odor-proof containers and bags to contain the smell and avoid unwanted attention.

Some people hate the smell of marijuana. We have to respect that.

When you find an odor-proof container, decide where you’ll place it during your trip.

When driving, it is best to stash the weed in your trunk. Just make sure that it is stored in an odor-proof container. 

Most hotels have safety vaults in each room. You can place your pot in those safety vaults so that no one can touch it.

Also, before checking in, make sure the hotel is weed-friendly.

States Where Cannabis Has Been Legalized

Pot laws vary between countries and states. I will discuss states where recreational and medicinal use is allowed and the limits to this use.

This will help you avoid any confusion regarding laws and regulations and be aware of your rights.


In 1975, marijuana was decriminalized in this state, though it was re-criminalized in 1990.

After years of debate, the state law legalizing marijuana took effect on February 24, 2015.

Alaska was the third state to legalize the use of marijuana for people age 21 or above.

However, they can possess an amount only up to 1 ounce. People who do not follow the rules will often face fines.

The state law in Alaska allows for the transportation of pot as long as it is no more than 1 ounce.

It must be tightly sealed in an odor-proof container, and it cannot be consumed during transport.


Through Amendment 20 in 2000, medicinal marijuana was legalized. However, locals had to wait until 2012 for the enactment of Amendment 64, which allowed the herb to be used recreationally.

The only people allowed to consume pot are those who are 21 or above, and they can possess only 1 ounce of pot.

It is legal in Colorado to carry marijuana in your car as long as it is kept in a sealed container.

However, it is illegal to cross state boundaries while being in possession. It is prohibited to purchase and consume a maximum of 1 ounce per transaction.

It still illegal to export products from state to state.


Legal recreational sale of pot in California took effect in 2018. As with other states, the legal age for purchase is 21 or above, with only 1 ounce a day.

You can consume marijuana for recreational use only in specific establishments and homes.

Transportation of marijuana to the neighboring state is illegal. It will lead to serious jail time, as this is considered trafficking.


Illinois is the most recent amongst all the states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. People age 21+ are allowed to purchase weed.

They can consume it only in places that are authorized for cannabis consumption.

There’s a limit on daily purchase – 30 grams of cannabis flower, 500 mg of cannabis-infused products, and 5 grams of cannabis concentrate.

Cannabis is allowed to be transferred in a package that is odor-proof, sealed, and child-resistant.


Marijuana was decriminalized in 1976 and legalized in 1999. Not until 2016 did the use of recreational marijuana achieve statewide legalization. 

Marijuana consumption is legal in Maine, but not to the extent that people can smoke it in public places.

Severe fines are levied on those who smoke publicly while visible to other people.

Adults 21 or above are allowed to purchase only 2.5 ounces per day.

Transporting marijuana in this state is legal, provided it is sealed in a childproof container. However, transporting marijuana from state to state is illegal.


In 2008, the state slowly moved toward legalizing medical cannabis after Question 4 passed with 54% of the vote.

It is legal to consume marijuana in this state, but not in public places. Crossing the borderlines with pot is against federal law.

You have to be 21 or above to purchase and consume weed.


In 2008, medicinal marijuana was decriminalized by 63% of voters who said YES to Prop 1.

In 2018, recreational use was legalized when 56% of voters opted to legalize pot for recreational use.

Thereon, both recreational and medicinal uses of marijuana have been legalized in this state.

A legal-aged person (21 or above) can have up to 10 ounces in their residences.

However, you are allowed to carry only 2.5 ounces of pot outside of your home.

Transportation of marijuana is allowed as long as it is in a sealed package stored in the trunk of your car.

Exporting marijuana from state to state is strictly prohibited.


The state of Nevada was the very first to legalize medicinal marijuana, in 2001.

In 2016, Question 2 passed the vote, with 54% of voters opting for recreational use to be legalized.

Locals and tourists 21 or above are allowed to purchase pot. The limit is 1 ounce of weed per day.

You can also purchase 1/8-ounce concentrates. Just like the other states, it is strictly illegal to export products to and from different states.


Measure 91 legalized the recreational use and cultivation of marijuana.

If you are a tourist or a visitor, you are allowed to possess only 1 ounce of pot per day.

If you are a local, you are allowed to keep 8 ounces of weed inside your residence.

However, you are not allowed to carry more than an ounce in public.

Export is also prohibited.


In 2004, a Senate bill was passed to legalize the use of medicinal marijuana. HB 511 was passed in 2018. It made the use of recreational marijuana legal in the state.

Vermont was the first state to legalize the consumption of pot. Adults age 21 years or older can freely carry a maximum of 1 ounce of pot in public.

However, to date, the government does not allow for the export and import of products from and to the state.


Washington is the oldest state to have legalized the use of medicinal marijuana, dating back to 1988. Recreational use was legalized on December 6, 2012.

The state allows people 21 or above to purchase, carry, and consume up to 1 ounce of useable marijuana.

Not only that, but they can also carry 7 grams of concentrate and 72 ounces of marijuana-infused products.

Washington D.C.

Adults 21+ can purchase and carry up to 2 ounces of marijuana per day.

Unlike in other states where pot is legal, it is much more complicated here. You do not conventionally buy weed.

Instead, you buy something else and receive a marijuana gift from the seller. The pot is either “donated” or “gifted” but never “sold.”

Federal Law and the Marijuana Industry

The medicinal and recreational use of marijuana has been legalized in several states.

Additionally, more states are fighting to legalize recreational marijuana use.

However, despite its legalization, under federal law marijuana is still illegal.

Marijuana is considered a schedule 1 drug with a high potential for abuse. The conflict between state law and federal law is still ongoing.

It is very unlikely for marijuana consumption to be legalized by federal law. That is why it is very important to follow the rules of every state.

The marijuana market imbalance is caused by the restriction of federal law for marijuana to cross state lines.

Because of this, oversupplied states won’t be able to export marijuana to undersupplied states.

Also, federal law considers growers to be drug traffickers, yet marijuana farmers are still obliged to pay federal taxes.

However, the farmers’ taxes are higher than those of other businesses, as the farmers are not allowed to deduct several expenses.


Overall, it is better to keep your pot in your state where it is legal.

If your destination has legalized marijuana, you should have no problem, as you can buy it anywhere there.

It is better to follow the federal law than to go against it and face jail time.

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