Which States Will Accept an Out-of-State Medical Cannabis Card?
Many states either have a medical marijuana card program in place or have one in the works, but as frustrating as it may be for medical cannabis patients, not all states with MMJ card programs will accept an out-of-state medical card.
This can become especially tricky for medical marijuana patients who are traveling and need access to their medical cannabis while away because it is also highly illegal to carry cannabis across state lines, as the substance is still federally illegal.
It is extremely important that you thoroughly research the medical cannabis of the state in question, for every one has a separate set of rules and guidelines. If you are a medical marijuana patient, here’s to hoping that the state you’re traveling to allows out-of-state medical marijuana cards or at least has a recreational cannabis program in place for individuals over the age of 21.
In this guide, we walk you through all the states that do accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards so that you can make an informed decision. Keep in mind, however, this is simply a guide, and information is constantly changing, so check the official medical marijuana program website for your desired state for the most up-to-date information to avoid getting in trouble with the law.
I Need Medical Cannabis Out-of-State… What Are My Options?
There are three general ways in which a medical marijuana cardholder might be able to access medical cannabis out-of-state. They include:
- Reciprocity agreements between medical cannabis states (states that accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards)
- Temporary in-state medical marijuana cards specifically for visitors to the state
- Recreational adult-use (21+) cannabis programs
What States Have Out-of-State Reciprocity Agreements?
First and foremost, the laws are constantly changing, so check the official website of your state’s medical marijuana program for the most up-to-date information. With that being said, here is the information we do have about states with medical cannabis reciprocity agreements.
Visitors from other states who have a legitimate MMJ card from another state are permitted to buy marijuana in Maine. When the reciprocity program first began, out-of-state visitors had to get a certificate from a Maine-licensed physician.
MMJ card holders might also choose to have the cannabis purchased from a licensed shop or caregiver. Adults over the age of 21 may also purchase and possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis recreationally.
There is a reciprocity scheme in place in Nevada. If you have an MMJ card from another state and you fit the following requirements, you can purchase marijuana in Nevada:
- You possess a valid medical marijuana card.
- Holders of MMJ cards in your home state are not subject to criminal prosecution for using medicinal marijuana.
- The legislation in your own state mandates that medical professionals inform patients about the advantages of MMJ prior to issuing a card.
- Nevada officials can check a database of registered users to confirm the authenticity of your card.
You’ll be relieved to know that recreational cannabis is legal in Nevada if this seems intimidating. Up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana can be purchased by those over 21.
New Mexico started an extensive reciprocity scheme in the middle of 2020. It enables holders of MMJ cards from every state with an active medical cannabis program to buy marijuana lawfully from MMJ establishments in New Mexico. Native tribes from New Mexico, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories are also included.
Instead of submitting an MMJ card, you simply need to provide proof of a doctor’s permission in your state. Patients who meet the requirements may possess up to eight ounces in 90 days. Furthermore, those with out-of-state cards are permitted to purchase marijuana for reasons other than those that make it legal in New Mexico. You may use the NH MMJ program if it is acceptable in your state and you have documentation of your certification.
Historically, Rhode Island has been a state with permissive medicinal marijuana laws. It comes as no surprise that it has a reciprocity scheme in place because of this. MMJ cards from other states are recognized, however, you must present two different pieces of identification. Additionally, you need to provide your actual MMJ card.
Visitors also must be registered in a state that makes use of a database that tracks medicinal cannabis purchases. Following approval, you are permitted to keep up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana.
MMJ only became legal in Utah in December 2018. Sales didn’t start until March 2020. Utah now accepts MMJ cards from other states. However, you must meet one of the prerequisites specified in Utah.
An MMJ card issued by another state may also be used by new residents of Utah who have been there for fewer than 45 days. New residents, however, are only permitted to possess marijuana with the card and are unable to purchase it from a dispensary in Utah. They must submit an application for a Utah medical marijuana card after the 45 days are over. Patients who consume medical cannabis are permitted up to four ounces of cannabis.
There is a reciprocity agreement in the District of Columbia. If your home state offers a program that is practically identical to the Washington, D.C. model, then out-of-state MMJ cards are acceptable. For further information, you should review the laws in your state of residence. D.C. appears to accept MMJ cards from at least 27 other states.
In the District, medical marijuana patients are permitted to own up to two ounces of marijuana flower. However, unlike many states with programs, you must be at least 21 years old, not just 18. Washington, D.C. theoretically only permits adult usage of cannabis. In fact, commercial sales are not allowed.
Like with all things in life, there are some exceptions to states that accept or do not accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards.
Neither Oregon nor Michigan, for instance, has a reciprocity program. However, neither state requires an MMJ card for anyone 21+ to buy up to an ounce of marijuana.
California doesn’t have a specific reciprocity scheme either, but medical marijuana users are still able to buy things from dispensaries legally. Cannabis usage for recreational purposes is legal in California.
Technically, Colorado is another state that does not accept medical cards from other states. Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Rhode Island do, however, accept the Colorado medical card.
In Alaska and Michigan, it is up to the dispensary’s decision whether to accept out-of-state cards. However, cannabis use for recreational purposes is permitted in these two states.
The reciprocity statute in Arizona is unclear. Your out-of-state MMJ card may only enable you to possess marijuana in select areas. You cannot purchase in that state.
What Are Temporary In-State Medical Cannabis Patient Licenses for Out-of-State Patients?
Some states, rather than merely recognizing out-of-state medical cannabis cards, they instead require you to apply for a temporary in-state medical cannabis license if you are an out-of-state medical cannabis patient. Here are the states with this requirement.
Must hold an out-of-state medical card, complete an intake form, and pay $50. This temporary card is valid for 90 days.
Using the website for the state’s medicinal marijuana program, visitors may apply for a temporary card. People with serious or terminal illnesses are eligible to petition for accelerated processing.
Visitors can register to get medicinal cannabis if they are in Maryland for medical treatment, even if the state does not accept out-of-state cards.
A 15-day temporary card is available to out-of-state residents for $75, which can be extended for an extra 15 days. Bear in mind, purchase amounts are extremely limited.
If a patient fills out a Temporary Patient Application Information form, valid state-issued identification will be accepted. Possessing only a doctor’s referral from another state isn’t enough to get an Oklahoma MMJ temporary card.
What States Allow Recreational Cannabis (and How Does It Work)?
A number of states have recreational cannabis programs in place, meaning if you are 21+ you can generally obtain recreational marijuana in these locations. Be sure to check with the laws of each state, as there may also be other criteria.
Recreational cannabis states also have medical cannabis programs, which can be more beneficial than recreational cannabis for residents, however, for some, recreational cannabis does suffice.
- Maryland (beginning July 1, 2023)
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- Washington D.C.
Final Thoughts on Which States Accept Out-of-State MMJ Cards
As you can see, you may have some options if you have an out-of-state medical marijuana card and are traveling to another state. Although there are a handful of states that officially accept out-of-state MMJ cards, some states grant temporary in-state licenses to out-of-state patients, and many states have a recreational adult-use (21+) cannabis program in place as an alternative.