Recreational marijuana is legal in California, as is medical marijuana. This state has been among the leaders in these movements, although more and more states across the country are adopting similar laws. Examples include places like Illinois, Michigan and Colorado.
As a result, people in these states begin thinking about marijuana similarly to alcohol. Buying products at a dispensary is not that much different than going to a convenience store. This may lead them to believe that they can travel anywhere they want with these products, as long as they initially purchased them legally in California. But it is actually illegal to cross state lines with marijuana products in your possession.
Why is it illegal?
The main reason that this is illegal is simply that marijuana remains a controlled substance at the federal level. Possession, sales and trafficking are still illegal according to the federal government.
That doesn’t mean that the states cannot change their own laws, which is what they have done. A dispensary in California is not going to get shut down by the Californian government. But the federal government still considers even mere possession to be illegal. Even when you buy legally at a licensed dispensary, crossing state lines can turn this into a federal crime.
Interestingly, even if the other state also has recreational marijuana laws, simply crossing the state line is still illegal. This could change at some time, if the federal government alters their stance on marijuana, but this is the way that the law applies right now.
What are your options?
If you are facing drug charges, it’s important to know how this complex web of often-changing laws really works and all of the legal options you have at this time.