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Transporting Marijuana: Laws and Regulations

Created byВ FindLaw’s team of legal writers and editors | Last updated October 18, 2019

Marijuana is slowly but surely being legalized, or at least decriminalized, throughout the United States. In 1996, California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Now, approximately half of the remaining states and Washington, D.C. have also legalized the use of medical marijuana. Currently, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in a number of states, including California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C., but a handful of other states seem to be headed in the direction of legalizing marijuana for recreational use as well. You can read about the history of voting for marijuana legalization to learn more.

For those looking to break into the marijuana business, it’s important to remember that even states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana still have certain regulations in place. That includes regulations on the transportation of pot. Read on to learn more about how the transportation of marijuana is treated both in state and across state lines.

Legalization vs. Decriminalization

Before discussing the transportation of marijuana, it’s important to understand the difference between the legalization and decriminalization of the drug. Legalizing something means that those who follow the rules related to the product, won’t be arrested, ticketed, or convicted for using that product. For example, since marijuana was legalized in Colorado in 2012, people can legally use pot as long as they use it in compliance with the rules surrounding its use (i.e. you must be at least 21 years old to use marijuana).

Decriminalization, on the other hand, occurs when a state amends or repeals its laws to make certain acts no longer subject to prosecution. California, for example, has a decriminalization statute for possession of small amounts of marijuana. In Illinois, for example, if a person is caught with a small amount of pot, he or she will only be guilty of a civil violation and will have to pay a fine, but will not face other criminal consequences such as prosecution or jail time.

Transporting Marijuana: State Laws

The legal implications of transporting marijuana within a particular state will depend on the laws of the individual state. First of all, if marijuana is illegal in a particular state, the transportation of the drug will also be illegal in that state. In states that have made marijuana legal, on the other hand, the laws related to the transportation of marijuana are different depending on if the person is a business or an individual. For example, in Colorado, an individual who transfers one ounce or less of marijuana will not be penalized if he or she is at least 21 years old and doesn’t receive money for the transfer.

However, it’s important to note that businesses are generally treated differently. States that have legalized marijuana require businesses to be licensed by the state before they can legally transport the drug. For example, in order for a person to transport marijuana within Colorado for his or her business, the person needs to have a license from the State Licensing Authority as well as from the relevant local authorities. In Washington, transporting marijuana requires a person to have a marijuana retailer license and comply with specific transportation requirements. California also allows licensees to transport marijuana, but limits the transportation to within the state.

Since these requirements differ from state to state, it’s important to check in with your state’s licensing authorities before transporting marijuana within your home state.

Federal Laws on Transporting Marijuana

While marijuana has been legalized in several states, it’s still illegal under federal law. As a result, transporting marijuana across state lines could result in federal criminal prosecution. The United States Drug Enforcement Agency’s website provides helpful information explaining the penalties for trafficking marijuana. The penalty depends on the amount of marijuana being transported and whether or not it’s a person’s first or second offense.

Under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, the federal government could prosecute a person engaged in a marijuana business that is otherwise legal under state law. In 2013, the Obama Administration announced that it wouldn’t challenge state laws legalizing marijuana, as long as the states maintained strict rules involving the distribution and sale of marijuana. In fact, the Deputy Attorney General released a memo outlining the enforcement priorities for marijuana, and it didn’t include prosecuting legal retailers complying with state laws. However, on January 4, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo on marijuana enforcement in which he rescinded previous guidance documents regarding marijuana prosecutions, and directed U.S. attorneys to enforce the laws enacted by Congress.

Those currently involved in the marijuana industry, and those interested in joining it, should take note of the federal government’s enforcement priorities in order to help their odds in avoiding federal prosecution.

Related Resources:

  • Marijuana and Other Highly Regulated Businesses
  • Drug Manufacturing and Cultivation
  • Drug Trafficking/Distribution

Questions About Transporting Marijuana Laws and Regulations? A Lawyer Can Help.

Marijuana laws can be tricky to navigate, especially since many state laws are in conflict with federal laws. If you have questions or concerns about transporting legal marijuana, or marijuana laws in general, it might be a good idea to contact a cannabis business attorney with experience in the medical and/or recreational cannabis market.

A guide to transporting marijuana both in state and beyond, including state licensing requirements and more.

Education

How to Legally Buy Weed Online

With more cannabis available for purchase than ever before, it leaves many people wondering how to get their hands on the latest and greatest marijuana products. But what if marijuana isn’t legal in your state? How do you get access to legal cannabis? Whether you live in a state that has or has not legalized cannabis, finding and purchasing legal, hassle-free weed can sometimes be a confusing process.

Can I Buy Weed Online?

If you live in a state where marijuana is currently illegal, the short answer is no. The federal government still considers cannabis a Schedule I drug, grouped right beside cocaine and heroin. Shipping cannabis across state lines is always illegal at least until it becomes federally legal. While there are websites that will ship marijuana to you no matter how old you are or where you are located – remember that shipping across state lines is considered drug trafficking.

If you live in a state where marijuana is legal, then the answer is maybe. As of 2020, there are 11 states that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. If you live in one of those states, and delivery services are also legal in your city, then there is a good chance that you can purchase marijuana legally online.

However, even if you live in a non-legal state, not all cannabinoids are illegal – such as CBD. Hemp derived CBD products, anything with .03% THC or less, are federally legal and can be shipped to many states across the country. There are tons of CBD websites out there, so make sure you do your research before making a purchase!

Are Weed Delivery Services Legal?

While shipping cannabis across state lines may be illegal, many legal weed delivery services exist within the borders of certain states. In states where delivery services are legally allowed to operate, consumers can have products delivered straight to their door. While delivery services are not available in all 50 states – yet – it is an option for a few of our proud states!

In Arizona, California and New York deliveries are allowed for individuals with a state approved medical cannabis card. Recreational cannabis deliveries are also available for California residents over the age of 21. However, in New York, only certain products are available for delivery. In Colorado, a bill recently passed which will allow the delivery of recreational and medical marijuana starting in 2020. Legitimate delivery services are a new up and coming trend that consumers should be on the lookout for.

Order Ahead from Your Local Dispensary

While you may not be able to get your green delivered straight to your doorstep – many dispensaries offer a pre-order service. Different online services allow you to view and browse the store’s current inventory and place your order online for pickup. So on your next visit to any dispensary, skip the lines and place an order ahead of time.

How to Spot A Cannabis Scam

If you are one of the millions who frequent cannabis Instagram pages, you have undoubtedly seen some of the marijuana scammers advertising in the comment sections on popular pages. An account will advertise pictures of weed and then offer to ship anywhere in the world for a very affordable price. It can be deceiving because the account will even list a phone number that you can call and order through. However, these numbers are only temporary and created through a burner app. This means that as soon as they have made a transaction, they can trash the number. The account holder will then use this burner number to broker a deal with their latest victim. Once the victim has deposited money into the dealer’s accounts, they stop communication and are never heard from again. The buyer is left with no product and hole in their wallet.

While it may be tempting to order cannabis online, we strongly recommend you order only from reputable, legal services.

Tips for Ordering Marijuana Online

  1. Don’t buy cannabis from unverified accounts on social media. In fact, stay away from making weed purchases on social media, period.
  2. Don’t mail or receive cannabis across state lines.
  3. DO pre-order online from your favorite dispensary! Skip the lines, walk in and walk out!
  4. DO be on the lookout for verified legal marijuana delivery services – especially if you live in Colorado!
  5. DO check out Where’s Weed for the latest deals in your area and the most recent news!

Have you ever ordered marijuana online, or have you been thinking about it? Have you or someone you know fallen victim to an online marijuana scam? How about pre-ordering from your local dispensary? Tell us about your experiences! Share with us in the comments below!

With more cannabis available for purchase than ever before, it leaves many people wondering how to get their hands on the latest and greatest marijuana products. But what if marijuana isn’t legal in your state? How do you get access to legal cannabis? Whether you live in a state that has or has not legalized cannabis, finding and purchasing legal, ]]>