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Staying Legal With Legal Marijuana

12/20/2021 Politics & Law

Some of us never thought we’d see the day when medical marijuana would be legal in many parts of the country – let alone recreational marijuana! But, the news of progress just keeps coming, and it’s been great to see.

There are still concerns in many states, though, even in those where marijuana is legal. There are strictures as to where and how you can use weed. It is still so important to be on your toes and be sure about staying legal while using medical marijuana.

Legal States

We’ve all watched what’s been happening in Colorado with great interest. Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. The cultural impact, not to mention the positive financial results, have garnered national attention.

At the time of this writing, eighteen states have legalized recreational marijuana, and 36 have made medical marijuana legal. In addition, more and more of the other states are seriously considering these choices. This reflects a great acceptance of marijuana throughout the country and points toward a future where federal legalization becomes possible.

Still, there’s a lot to know about the law to keep yourself safe wherever you go. There are also some points of interpretation that should be ironed out to help you see when you’re on the edge of a gray area.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Marijuana in Legalized States

  • Is driving while high legal?

It’s illegal to drive while using marijuana in all 50 states – that includes states where marijuana is legal.

If you’re driving while high and get in an accident, you would automatically be at fault.

It is difficult for law enforcement to detect whether you’ve ingested marijuana. A breathalyzer only works on alcohol, and blood tests in the field aren’t possible.

Some say they drive better after smoking marijuana, citing higher concentration levels and fine motor skills. However, it is still imperative that marijuana users refrain from using when driving or operating machinery. It’s also a big no-no if you’re working with or driving with kids.

Suppose a law enforcement officer has reason to believe you’re under the influence of marijuana. In that case, they have a right to arrest you. Their observation is enough of a basis to bring charges.

  • What about having marijuana or paraphernalia in your vehicle?

The laws in states like Colorado say you can’t have marijuana, or paraphernalia, in the vehicle’s passenger seat if there’s a broken seal or any evidence of use.

It’s best to keep any cannabis-related supplies in the trunk of the vehicle.

  • Traveling with cannabis?

It’s not illegal to travel within a legalized state with marijuana in your vehicle. Follow the directions from the previous question.  The rules aren’t clear if you are traveling in your vehicle from a legalized state to a legalized state. Crossing state lines brings up the question of federal jurisdiction. In comparison, when fraud occurs in more than one state, the FBI or other federal agents would have jurisdiction.

It is unlikely that federal law enforcement would step in if you had a car accident, for example, and marijuana was involved. But it is best to use extreme caution while traveling to and from legalized states and not to use marijuana while driving.

It’s not recommended that you travel with marijuana in your vehicle, from a legalized state to a non-legalized one. It’s illegal, and so it’s best to avoid that scenario entirely.

Marijuana is still illegal in many states and is considered an illicit drug. While some citizens of those states are learning about the benefits of weed, those states officially frown upon recreational and even medical marijuana. Therefore, you’ll want to avoid carrying marijuana for any reason in those states to avoid any potential legal headaches.

Air travel is policed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), part of the federal government. You may have heard that TSA (Transportation Security Administration – also federal) representatives at airports will merely confiscate and dispose of any marijuana-based products they find on your person — but you must consider that the FAA might not deal with such an offense so lightly.

The best advice is not to fly with any marijuana, CBD products, or paraphernalia. When flying internationally, it’s even more important to keep this advice in mind.

  • If I’m in a state where recreational and/or medical marijuana is legal, what about drug testing?

You probably can pass a drug test if you use CBD, but those who partake of a CBD-THC blend might not.

It’s not entirely clear whether companies are looking for marijuana during drug screenings. It’s unlikely that newly hired employees would receive information about the specifics of the screening processes or precisely what drugs are being tested for.

Most companies that are working in more than one state will desire consistent corporate policies concerning drug screenings. If marijuana is illegal in any state where they have a presence, the same restrictive company policies would likely apply within legalized states.

Your best bet is to refrain from using any marijuana products within a 30-day timeframe (and longer for those who use a large amount of marijuana regularly) before drug testing. This will increase your likelihood of passing.

  • Will I be able to pick up medical marijuana for another person?

No. Only the patient who’s been given the prescription can pick up their medical marijuana. Even though the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana is spreading, this policy is unlikely to change in the future.

Positive Changes Anticipated for the Future

There are many restrictions still in place, and marijuana is still stigmatized by some, but overall, many good things have happened regarding marijuana acceptance, and more positive developments are anticipated for the future.

Many policymakers are working to make marijuana policies less restrictive. It will take time for new legislation to be researched and written and eventually passed. More and more states will pass laws to legalize medical marijuana and then recreational marijuana.

It’s essential that the federal government change the marijuana classification from Schedule 1, and make it legal nationwide. This appears to be the path we’re on, but it will take some time to reach that place.

Medical marijuana is a vital part of the lives of more and more people, and recreational marijuana in fewer states. Marijuana users must stay on top of changing restrictions in the current climate, to stay on the safe side of the law while traveling and with drug testing.

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