As of March 2020, 11 states have completely legalized cannabis, and 22 states allow medical weed. The movement towards legalizing cannabis continues, and it’s easy to imagine a not-too-distant future when cannabis is legally legalized in all of the United States.
However, transporting marijuana across states or even moving it to another country may land a person in legal trouble if it is not properly prepared. Here are some of the most important legal considerations to bear in mind, the best way to transport cannabis, as well as some suggestions on how you can best store your weed before you start.
Rules and Penalties
Let’s begin with the facts that are obvious: While 33 states and Washington, D.C. allow for marijuana to be legalized in some way, there are 17 states that do not. The three states that prohibit cannabis entirely include Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina. It is easy to determine that bringing marijuana from a legal state to any of the three states mentioned is not a good decision.
However, what is less obvious is that moving from one weed-free state to another weed-legal state, such as Oregon to California or Vermont to Massachusetts, is also a way to put the person in serious legal danger. The border between these two states, as well as interstate highways, may be under federal jurisdiction, and weed is still illegal at the federal level. This is true for travel via plane as well as driving.
What happens if you are stopped and convicted of transporting cannabis from one state to another? It depends on the amount you’re carrying, if it’s your first time committing a crime, and the reason for the arrest. According to the DEA, even for a first offense, transporting less than 50 kilograms of cannabis could result in the maximum penalty of five years in jail and the possibility of a fine of $250,000. If a federal official is in good spirits and decides to let you go, your marijuana and, in turn, your cash, could be taken away.
Storing and Transporting Weed
The severe federal penalties are the reason why you should not be planning an excursion to Colorado with the intention of bringing some items back to your home. Also, these rules make it so that cannabis companies like Harvest House of Cannabis can’t do business in other states. This limits the ways the weed business can grow.
Although federal agents may be able to ask questions about smells similar to marijuana, they’re not actively looking for the substance. If you follow a few basic safety precautions while traveling, you’ll be able to transport small amounts across states for your own personal use.
One thing to remember is that flying with marijuana is much safer than driving with it. Officers will look for license plates from outside the state, especially in places where it is legal to buy marijuana. If you’re in a state where cannabis is illegal or prohibited, all the police officer has to do is say you smell cannabis and then search your vehicle. If you intend to carry weed, you must take an airplane. If you have to drive, make sure you stay clear of weed products that emit any smell. I highly suggest carrying a smell-proof bag, or even better yet, using a smell-proof bag for your weed and stuffing it into a smell proof backpack with a lock on it. Keep your edibles at the top of your list and all of your cannabis in a secure place, like the glove compartment.
When you fly, include your marijuana in your carry-on rather than packing it into your luggage that could be searched randomly. Place any joints you have in a bottle of pills or plastic bag that you mix with other items. Be aware of the fact that TSA agents are searching for explosives and weapons but not for drugs. It is not necessary to take the same steps as the infamous stories of drug smugglers carrying cocaine through different passageways. Don’t throw it to the world; keep it inside your luggage bag, and you’ll be safe.