In California, you can purchase marijuana for either medicinal purposes or recreational purposes. Those who buy it recreationally still do have to adhere to certain rules – such as being 21 years old, similar to when they purchase alcohol – but it is not a criminal act. Other states may still put people in jail for simple possession, but California does not do so.
However, it’s problematic when someone takes marijuana that they purchased in California and tries to drive to another state. One of the issues is that the federal government still defines marijuana as a controlled substance. Since possession is illegal under federal laws, crossing state lines is problematic and could expose someone to these federal charges. This is also why it is illegal to fly with marijuana, even if the products were purchased legally. They still cannot cross state lines because of issues with federal laws.
What if the other state also has legal marijuana?
One question people sometimes ask is if it becomes legal to cross state lines if the substances are also allowed in the other state. For instance, it makes sense to avoid taking marijuana to states where it is still illegal, like South Carolina, but what about a nearby state like Oregon, where recreational use is legal?
In cases like this, the federal violations still apply. The products may be legal in both states, but that doesn’t mean they can be transported over the borders. This can still lead to arrests for people who didn’t know they were doing anything wrong, and it is quite important for those individuals to know what legal defense options they have and what steps to take next.