The expansion of adult use and medical marijuana across the country has led to a patchwork of laws covering everything from how marijuana products can be legally purchased to who can use them. It is all made that much more complicated by the fact that state marijuana laws conflict with federal law. You can see the conflict in the actual buying experience itself.
If you were to buy cannabis at Pure Utah, a pharmacy based in Payson, Utah, you would be subject to a very strict set of regulations. But cross the border into Colorado and the buying experience is a lot different. That’s because Colorado allows for both recreational and medical use.
Among the thirty-six states that now allow cannabis possession and use, nineteen of them are still considered medical-only states. In other words, their laws only allow for cannabis as a medicine to treat qualifying conditions. Utah is one such state. Its list of qualifying conditions includes things like epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and PTSD.
A visit to the Pure Utah cannabis pharmacy would require possession of a valid state medical cannabis card. You could only get that card by first visiting with a qualified medical provider who determined that you suffer from a qualifying condition and that medical cannabis is appropriate for your treatment.
When you actually go to purchase, you are limited in the type and volume of product you can purchase. You are also limited in terms of how much you can possess at any one time. Everything is tightly controlled to ensure that Utah’s program remains purely medical.
Medical and Adult Use
Among the states that allow for both medical and adult use, the buying experience can vary quite a bit. It really depends on how much control a given state government wants to maintain. California could be the easiest state in which to purchase marijuana for any purpose.
California law allows dispensaries to sell cannabis products to anyone of legal age. You don’t need a state-issued cannabis card to make a purchase. All you need is proper photo ID proving that you are at least 21 years of age. States with similar laws include Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, and Nevada. Maine, Vermont, and Washington DC are examples of jurisdictions in which recreational use is allowed despite there not being any existing means to purchase recreational products.
It should be noted that medical use is still regulated in many adult use states. Why remains unclear. If full adult use allows people to purchase, possess, and use marijuana products at their discretion, there doesn’t seem to be a point in continuing to distinguish between medical and recreational programs.
Carrying Across State Lines
Another important aspect to the buying experience is the final destination of the purchased products. Simply put, it is still a federal crime to transport marijuana across state lines. Even though you can legally use marijuana recreationally in California, it is technically illegal to bring marijuana into the Golden State from Oregon.
The issue here is that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. It is no different from cocaine or methamphetamine in terms of federal law enforcement. But with federal agencies choosing to not actively pursue average consumers, you can bet people are crossing state borders while in possession of marijuana products.
If you are a regular medical or recreational cannabis user, you are already familiar with the buying experience in your state. Visit another state and that experience might be completely different. It is all due to different state laws and how these relate to federal regulations.