Ask a Weed Lawyer: How Do I Transport Weed From State to State?

Short form: Very, very carefully.

John Bussman is a criminal defense attorney in Orange County, California. He is an expert on marijuana law, a member of the NORML Legal Committee, and a longtime supporter of drug policy reform.

Q: How can I transport medical marijuana from state to state?

Very carefully. And I wouldn’t recommend it.

Even though many states now allow medical and recreational marijuana (and many of them share borders), transporting weed across state lines still probably carries more potential headaches than it’s worth.

For one, it’s a federal crime. Realistically, the feds aren’t interested in busting an Oregonian for carrying an eighth across the Columbia River from Washington. But don’t push it.

For two, you may be violating various state laws. I’m licensed to practice law in California, and I don’t know everything about the laws of the other 49 states that make up our great country. I can just about guarantee, though, that many of them prohibit the importation of marijuana from out of state, or the possession of ganja without having paid the appropriate taxes. Some states may or may not recognize medical cards from out of state, and some may or may not allow non-residents to hold medical recommendations. 

For three, you’re begging for an unpleasant encounter with law enforcement if you carry marijuana interstate. The official policy of the TSA is not to specifically search for marijuana and other drugs, but to confiscate them and to report them to law enforcement if they are discovered during security screenings.

Highway patrol officers along major drug trafficking corridors tend to be less permissive. These guys are specifically looking for drugs, and they have dogs who are trained to do just that.