Who doesn’t love a good road trip?
I’ve been planning a special one for quite some time now, exploring the country I fought for. I want to see it in all its glory before I leave this world. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been on a number of road trips and flights but I’ve never traveled from sea to shining sea, and everywhere in between on land.
What’s the hold up? My medication.
As a medical marijuana card holder in Arizona, I’m allowed to legally possess a certain amount of cannabis at any given time from month to month. In other words I’m allowed to travel freely within my state’s borders.
The problem is that like countless others, I can’t leave Arizona with my medication unless the state I’m traveling to recognizes my status as a cannabis patient. Not if I want to travel with my medication that is.
Now, I’m not going to stop traveling because the government says my medication is illegal, but I need to know what kind of risk I’ll be running in each state so I can decide if it’s worth it.
After contemplating various scenarios I would most likely face if the coppers got ahold of me in hostile territory, I figured the best thing to do would be to contact them directly.
Might as well ask what would happen, right?
It seems as though every Police Department in America is using Facebook. Some of them are even using it for more than just posting pictures of their latest drug busts, or civil asset forfeiture. And some of them, at least the ones we spoke with, were kind enough to talk openly about cannabis to me.
This confirmed what we all already know, cannabis patients who dare to take the family on a road trip this summer will be harassed and discriminated against, possibly ending up behind bars facing criminal charges.
The question below was sent to a major Police Department within each state of The United States.
Quick question; lets say I have two ounces of cannabis on my person while I’m driving through your City on a road trip and I get pulled over by one of your officers.
Would they recognize my status as a legal cannabis patient from another state and let me go on my way? Or would I be arrested?
If the latter, what would I most likely be charged with?
It’s an honest question.
Thank you for your time and assistance, I’m sure you have more pressing matters to attend to than answering FB questions from someone in another state.
Figured I’d ask anyway.
Thank you for your service, stay safe.“
Ricardo Pereyda (RP)
Here are the responses…
Montgomery Police Department:“Give me a few minutes to get you an accurate response. Thank you for your inquiry.”
RP: Yes Sir/Ma’am, thank you.
MPD: “ALA CODE § 13A-12-231 (1) Any person who knowingly sells, manufactures, delivers, or brings into this state,……..” (The MPD cut-and-pasted the entire ALA CODE § 13A-12-231, I’ll save you the time; I’d be screwed!)
RP: Thank you.
MPD: “You are welcome. Safe travels.”
Jacksonville Police Department: “You [sic] probably be arrested.”
RP: Well, that’s unfortunate. Would you mind letting me know what the charge might be?
JPD: “Misdemeanor possession of marijuana.”
RP: “Would I be able to contest it as a medical patient? From the state of AZ that is.”
JPD: “That could be a defense however similar court cases in Alabama have set a precedent that it is not a valid defense.”
RP: You think the voters in Alabama will be bringing that issue to the ballot box anytime soon?
Piedmont Police Department: “I can’t tell you how any one of our officers would react; if you would be arrested or not. All I can say is that your Arizona Medical Marijuana Card is not recognized in Alabama, and any possession of marijuana is still illegal.”
RP: Fair enough.
Anchorage Police Department: “Hi Ricardo, thank you for reaching out to APD. We will get back to you on this. We want to make sure we give you good information. Thank you.
This was a response provided by Capt. Miller to your question:
The easiest way to think about this is to take marijuana out of the equation. People are expected to follow the laws of whatever jurisdiction they are in. What may be legal in one state may not be legal in another.
Gun laws are a perfect example. A magazine that is legal in Alaska is illegal in California. Alaskans are expected to follow California gun laws when they go there just as people from other jurisdictions are expected to follow Alaska law and municipal ordinance when they come here.
The fact that it is marijuana is irrelevant.
The state website provides good information on current marijuana laws in effect:
RP: I am a medical marijuana patient, the fact that I’m traveling with my medicine shouldn’t subject me to the discriminatory and unconstitutional practices of your Police Department.
What happened to equal protection under the law? What happened to my natural right to every herb under the sun? You need to reevaluate your policy regarding this matter.
Little Rock Police Department:”Possession of marijuana is illegal in the state of Arkansas regardless of the amount or standings in other states. Possession of under four ounces is a misdemeanor.”
RP: Tracking. Thank you.
Fayetteville Police Department:”Arkansas currently does not recognize medical marijuana. We would have to say that your possession of marijuana would be illegal under Arkansas law. However, it would be up to the officer’s discretion as to wether they ‘locked you up’ or let you ‘go on your way.’ We hope this answers your question.”
Denver Police Department:“Thank you for writing. If you are trying to report criminal or suspicious activity, please know that we are unable to provide police services via social media. Additionally, this page is not monitored 24/7. To report criminal or suspicious activity at any time, please call 720-913-2000; dial 911 for emergencies.
If you are wanting a Denver Police Department patch, please send your request to DPDPIO@denvergov.org. Be sure to include a good mailing address with your request.
All other messages will be addressed during normal business hours.
Take care, friend.”
RP: Thank you very much. You take care too, friend.
Fairfield Police Department:“Thank you for contacting us. We will review your message as soon as possible.
Please understand that our Facebook account is not monitored 24/7. If you need immediate assistance, please call (203) 254-4800 or Dial 911 in an Emergency.
Thank you for contacting us. So that we may further assist you, please contact our Front Desk Officer at (203) 254-4808.
Fairfield Police Department
100 Reef Rd, Fairfield, Connecticut 06824
City of Tallahassee Police Department:“Thank you for sending the Tallahassee Police Department a message. This page is not monitored around the clock. If this is an emergency please call 911 or non emergency 850-606-5800. We will respond to your inquiry as soon as we can! Thank you.”
Atlanta Police Department:”Possession of Marijuana in the state of Georgia is illegal, even if you are bringing it from a state where it is not.”
Honolulu Police Department:“Your question was sent to our narcotics division.”
RP: Thank you.
Baton Rouge Police Department: “Simple Possession of Marijuana. It’s a misdemeanor. You would probably receive a summons and released. Unless they thought you were transporting to sell it. Then it would be possession with intent to distribute which is a felony.”
RP: Thank you for your prompt response.
Augusta Police Department:“Augusta Police wants to be attentive to your requests. If this message needs immediate action, call 626-2370 or 911. Otherwise it may take time for someone to respond back via this message system. It is not monitored 24/7. Thank you. APD staff.”
Annapolis Police Department:“This account is not monitored 24 hours a day. We’ll get back to you soon. If you are reporting a crime you must contact 410-268-4141 or 9-1-1 in an emergency. We only send patches to active law enforcement officers.”
Thank you for your message. We would not recognize your status from another state. Possession of marijuana with a weight under 10 grams has been decriminalized in Maryland. It is a civil citation. I hope this answers your questions.
RP: Yes Sir/Ma’am. Thank you.
Biloxi Police Department: “It is not recognized.”
Reno Police Department: “Please do not report crimes to the Reno Police Department Facebook. Contact Dispatch at 775-334-2677 for non emergencies and 911 for emergencies.”
Rochester Police Department: “Everything you need to know is in the below Chapter of the New Hampshire Statutes online. Rather than try a paraphrase it and risk any type of confusion or misinterpretation I have included a link.
If you are a qualifying patient from another state and you follow our law you will not be in any danger of arrest.
If you encounter a law enforcement officer and they determine that you are to be charged, even if you feel it is in error please cooperate, you are obligated by law to do so, and escalating becomes unsafe for everyone involved.
Sort the matter out in the court with the assistance of an attorney, possession of marijuana in the State of New Hampshire is still a Class A Misdemeanor and can be punishable by up to a year in Jail and/or a $2000 fine so it is important that you understand the law you are using.
If you have questions after reviewing this call Officer Michael M. at 330-7111 and I will try to assist you further.”
RP: Thank you for your assistance, this is very helpful. Stay safe out there!
Farmington Police Department:“Thank you for messaging us. This site is not monitored 24/7. We will make every attmept [sic] to reply to you as soon as possible. For immediate police assistance, please contact dispatch at 505-334-6622 for non-emergencies & 911 for emergencies.”
Perkins Township Police Department: “Thanks for messaging us…our Facebook Page is not monitored 24 hrs but we check it constantly. We will reply back as soon as we receive it. If you need immediate assistance call 419-627-0824 Ext 1 for our dispatch and speak to an officer. Thanks!
At this point Ohio doesn’t recognize out of state permits, if caught with it you would receive a summons. New law just passed here in Ohio but at this point it has not been distributed to law enforcement. Thanks for asking.”
RP: Well, it’s not a permit, it’s a medical identification card, identifying me as a registered cannabis patient in the state of Arizona…. Does this change anything?
PTPD: “No sorry.”
RP: Sorry? Would you expect a patient from another state to travel to your state without their heart medication?
Oklahoma City Police Department: “It is against the law to possess that substance in the state of Oklahoma. So yes, it would be an arrestable offense. More than likely possession of MJ, If it’s just simple possession, that’s a misdemeanor.”
RP: Would possession of two ounces be considered simple possession?
RP: Thank you, y’all stay safe out there.
OKCPD: “Appreciate it.”
RP: Well, aside from potentially being arrested in your fine City for my medicinal use of cannabis, I appreciate the work you do to keep your citizens safe.