Cannabis 101

The Cannabis Traveler's Guide, Source: Original info-graph by Mitchell ColbertThe Latin phrase caveat emptor means buyer beware. Buyers of plane tickets should be well aware of what they are buying into before they get onto their airplanes. This includes knowing what your airline’s baggage policy is so you won’t get hit with surprise last minute fees. This also means knowing what the TSA policy is regarding what can, and cannot, be legally brought with you on an airplane. Cannabis is currently in a legal gray area where the TSA has said they won’t necessarily bust patients for possession, yet it is still illegal and could be turned over to local police. The legal situation around flying with cannabis gets more complicated depending on where you are flying to.

Take Delaware as a cautionary example. Both NORML and MPP’s websites say they have medical cannabis reciprocity and honor out of state recommendations. Oddly, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services’ website about their medical cannabis program says very clearly, “there are no reciprocity agreements with other states.” I called the Delaware DHSS’ medical cannabis agency to follow up on this apparent discrepancy and had an employee confirm that they do not honor out of state recommendations.

At this point I looked at the text of Title 16, Delaware’s medical cannabis act, to try and find some clarity, which I found § 4902A Definitions and § 4903A Protections for the medical use of marijuana. Within these sections of Title 16 it is made very clear that Delaware has reciprocity. If the employees of the state agency in charge of the program aren’t aware of a reciprocity agreement it is very unlikely that state police would be aware of it, and possible that medical cannabis collectives there may not even know. It is important for patients to do their own research before believing anything they are told, as misinformation abounds on the Internet and the halls of government.

It is especially important to do your research when going to other countries so you know what their drug laws are. I know that when I went to Hungary, bringing any amount of cannabis into the country was viewed as drug trafficking and could carry a lifetime in prison. I also read that it could take over a month to be seen by a judge, which means that even if you were found innocent it would still take over a month to be released and ruin your vacation. These are important things to know before you get on the plane so you can pack and plan accordingly. I’m not trying to scare you away from bringing any medicine with you, but I am trying to emphasis the risks involved and why discretion is very important.

This is why I put together the handy Cannabis Traveler’s Guide to help you know America’s drug laws and what to expect as you travel from one state to another or on an airplane. This is a first draft so please let me know if you feel anything is missing.