Moving to a new state can be difficult for medical marijuana patients, as existing cards cannot simply be transferred.
Due to the individual requirements of different states’ medical marijuana programs, patients will eventually need to reapply for a medical marijuana card in their new location. This includes re-completing the state application, proving your residency with state identification, and receiving a recommendation from a state-licensed physician.
But some states offer temporary medical marijuana reciprocity, which means they will accept valid medical cannabis cards from another state while you finalize your residency in your new home.
Is a Medical Card Valid If You Move to a New State?
When moving to a new state, it’s important to understand the two types of programs: medical and adult use (recreational).
In states where adult-use marijuana has been approved, you must show proof of age before making a purchase. But, in some areas, there may be different taxes or possession/purchase limits for medical marijuana users.
How to Get Approved for Medical Marijuana in a New State
You need to present proof of residency so you can apply for a medical marijuana card after moving to a new state.
The quickest and most convenient option is usually your driver’s license or state ID; certain states may even accept out-of-state IDs alongside evidence of residency.
Make sure to also update any relevant documents beforehand, like an identification card linked to your address change.
Although it can be tempting to delay visiting the DMV until later on, updating official records sooner will make acquiring access to medical marijuana easier down the line. If you live in a location without reciprocity rules put into place, then verifying your current residence is essential before becoming officially registered as a patient there.
Which States Accept Out-of-State Medical Marijuana Cards?
Some states with adult-use may be willing to sell recreational cannabis to out-of-state patients with medical marijuana cards, while others may allow you to visit medical cannabis dispensaries.
NOTE: Not all states have differences between medical and recreational cannabis for sale. Most have different tax rates for medicinal users versus recreational users.
Below are the states that currently accept out-of-state medical marijuana cards:
When Can You Use a Medical Marijuana Card in Another State?
Having a medical marijuana card does not guarantee the ability to purchase cannabis from a dispensary in states where it is legal.
But if there’s an existing recreational program, consumers aged 21 and over can buy products with certain tax breaks or higher possession/purchase limits depending on their state of residence.
If you’ve moved to a state with reciprocity laws, you can buy medical marijuana while undergoing the process of applying within that same state. Different states follow different regulations when it comes to these programs.
Below are some of the states that currently have reciprocity programs:
If you are an out-of-state resident who holds a medical marijuana card, Arizona allows you to qualify as a “visiting qualifying patient” so long as your home state’s qualifying condition is listed on the criteria list for that state. This also applies if you have moved to the state within the last 30 days.
Qualifying patients must also be licensed in their home state with a condition that meets the state’s medical card criteria.
These following conditions are:
- Hepatitis C
- Amyotrophic lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe and chronic pain
- Severe nausea
- Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
In Arkansas, those who have a medical marijuana recommendation and card can purchase medical cannabis by filling out the visiting patient form. The application fee costs $50 as proof that they are registered in their home state’s program. If approved, a visiting patient may purchase medical marijuana in Arkansas for a 30-day period per application.
In August 2022, Louisiana passed a law that allows out of state medical marijuana patients to purchase their products in the state while they are visiting.
If you are a current patient with an out-of-state medical marijuana card visiting the state, just search for a local dispensary close to you and call them for specific details about how to use your current state’s medical marijuana card to buy medical cannabis in Louisiana.
Adults aged 21 and over in Maine are legally allowed to possess and consume marijuana. Unfortunately, the planned opening of retail sites for public use has been delayed until further notice.
But individuals who are at least 21 years old can still own a maximum of 2.5 ounces (71 grams) of cannabis flower or 5 grams (0.176 ounces) worth of hashish/concentrates without any legal consequences.
Qualified medical marijuana patients from other states can purchase medical cannabis at one of Maine’s state-regulated dispensaries as long as they present valid identification.
Maine currently honors qualified patients from the following states:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- Washington, DC.
Check more of Maine’s medical marijuana program.
In Michigan, it is up to individual dispensaries whether they accept an out-of-state medical cannabis card. Fortunately, adult-use marijuana has been legalized in the state for adults 21 and over so new residents have time to apply for a medical cannabis card in the state.
Medical cannabis cardholders can use their card in Montana to legally buy and consume cannabis while visiting. But once your original cannabis card expires, you must apply for a new card in the state.
Dispensaries in Nevada recognize medical marijuana cards from other legalized state programs, but it’s worth it if you’ve recently moved to get a new card in-state.
Medical marijuana patients from out of state are allowed to possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis, but are not allowed to purchase from local dispensaries. The patient must also have the same qualifying medical conditions that are listed in the state’s medical marijuana program.
New Mexico recognizes medical marijuana cards from other states. But once your original state’s card expires, you’ll need to apply for a card through the state’s medical cannabis program.
Patients from other states may register for a nonrenewable, six-month MCP card for use during their stay in New Jersey. Out-of-state patients will need to consult with a registered healthcare practitioner in the state, who will enroll them in the state’s registry.
You’ll also need to use the reference number and registry ID number you receive from the provider and a current copy of your registration in your home state’s program to set up an account in the patient portal.
Out-of-state medical cannabis cardholders can apply for a temporary license to purchase from dispensaries in Oklahoma. The permit costs $100 and after about two weeks’ processing time. The permit is valid for 30 days upon approval, allowing patients to purchase and possess medical marijuana legally.
Dispensaries in Rhode Island allow medical marijuana patients with a valid government-issued ID and medical card to buy cannabis and possess the same amount of medicine as in-state patients.
If the qualifying conditions in your state match Utah’s, you’ll receive the same legal protections as those medical cannabis users within the state.
Utah also requires patients to meet one of its own qualifying conditions in order to extend reciprocity:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Debilitating Seizures
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Multiple Sclerosis Or Persistent And Debilitating Muscle Spasms
- Ulcerative Colitis
- A terminal illness occurs when the patient’s life expectancy is less than six months
- A condition resulting in the individual receiving hospice care
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (ptsd)
- Persistent nausea that is not significantly responsive to traditional treatment, except for nausea related to:
- Cannabis-induced cyclical vomiting syndrome
- Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome
- A rare condition or disease that affects less than 200,000 individuals in the U.S., as defined in federal law, and that is not adequately managed despite treatment attempts using conventional medications (other than opioids or opiates) or physical interventions
- Pain lasting longer than two weeks that is not adequately managed, in the qualified medical provider’s opinion, despite treatment attempts using conventional medications other than opioids or opiates or physical interventions.
- A condition that the compassionate use board approves (once established) on a case-by-case basis.
Washington D.C. allows reciprocity from some states that have an equally functioning medical marijuana program.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
While cannabis is decriminalized and legal for recreational use, only authorized medical cannabis patients can purchase it from dispensaries. Current marijuana laws prohibit the retail sale of cannabis in Washington, D.C.
If your state is not on the list above, you can still bring your medicine as long as you keep a minimum of it. You can legally possess up to 2 ounces of cannabis flower for personal use, while concentrates and hashish remain illegal.
It makes sense to look into a state’s medical marijuana program once you’ve moved to another state. It’s recommended to apply for an in-state medical marijuana card as soon as possible to avoid any issues along the way.
Some states have different requirements for their programs, so make sure to always be updated with medical marijuana programs and laws.
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Medical Marijuana Regulation – Louisiana Department of Health
Department of Administrative and Financial Services – Main Gov