Traveling with Weed in the US: What You Need to Know

State by state guide


Laws regarding cannabis and how you can transport it vary from state to state. In some states, where it is illegal for recreational use, it is also illegal to transport cannabis in any form. But in other states, you can only transport it legally, as long as it adheres to certain conditions.

When you are trying to figure out where to put your weed when driving, you should generally follow the same rules as legally transporting alcohol. It cannot be out in the open or be able to be accessed by the driver or any of the passengers throughout the trip. That means the best bet is usually the trunk.

The amount of states that you can legally transport weed in is limited, and it’s best to know the laws beforehand. In this article, we will give you a breakdown on each of the 10 legal states, as well as Washington D.C., in terms of satisfying the weed transportation requirements.

Traveling with Cannabis in Alaska

If you’re going to be transporting cannabis in Alaska, it is best to keep it in your trunk. They have open container laws which include cannabis, and if you are caught with it out in the open, it can lead to strict penalties. Despite it being legalized, there still is no threshold for how much cannabis you can have in your body while driving. So a general rule of thumb – you should be able to operate a vehicle and follow procedure if you are pulled over.

Traveling with Cannabis in California

In California, you cannot drive with any cannabis out in the open and which is not in a container. You can also be penalized if it is in a container that has been opened. California requires all cannabis products to be packaged in tamper-evident packaging by its seller or retailer. In addition, each unit must contain a tracking identifier. If you do have a broken seal, you need to store your cannabis in the trunk. This is key to bypassing a violation if you do have a package that has already been opened. This, however, becomes a little trickier with edibles, as the officers will never know if a food item contains marijuana and is being used by the driver or passengers under their nose.

Traveling with Cannabis in Colorado

Under Colorado law, drivers cannot have more than 5 nanograms of THC in their bloodstream while on the road. Any amount above this, and they can be prosecuted for driving while intoxicated. Officers will most likely pull people over if there is noticeable impairment in driving skills though, so people can still get away with it if their driving is not too badly affected. In addition, Colorado also has open container laws. This makes having cannabis in a vehicle and in an open container or a container with a broken seal illegal. You also cannot consume cannabis on any roadway area. The officers are specially trained in this type of impaired driving enforcement, as Colorado has very liberal cannabis laws, so this is one of the issues they are faced with on the daily. This is something to keep in mind if driving with cannabis in Colorado.

Traveling with Cannabis in Maine

In Maine, if you are 21 years old or older, you can legally transport up to 70 g or 2.5 oz of marijuana as long as the cannabis is stored in a tamper-proof container at all times. It doesn’t require you to keep it in the trunk, but it’s never a bad idea to keep it out of sight of an officer to avoid a potential problem.

Traveling with Cannabis in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, you cannot drive with cannabis out in the open or anywhere in your vehicle where it is accessible. Anyone caught carrying cannabis out in the open, much like an open container of alcohol, will be fined a fee of $500. The seal on the container in which the cannabis is housed cannot be broken as well, and if the seal is broken, it must be kept locked in either the glove compartment or the trunk. The good news, however, is that you cannot receive a violation for the smell of cannabis in your car. So if you were hotboxing in your car the day before, not while driving, you cannot be prosecuted for cannabis usage at the time of arrest. Cannabis is legal in Massachusetts and therefore the smell alone cannot prove any evidence of a crime at that particular time.

Traveling with Cannabis in Michigan

In November of 2018, Michigan legalized recreational cannabis. You can, therefore, transport cannabis for recreational use, as long as the weed is in a sealed package in the trunk of the car out of accessible reach from passengers and drivers.

Traveling with Cannabis in Nevada

If you’re going to be driving in Nevada with cannabis in your vehicle, it should be in a sealed container nowhere near the driver’s seat or passengers. You also cannot take cannabis across state lines. Nevada has never really been very liberal regarding cannabis and the law, and it’s often not uniform in the ways that this is enforced throughout the state, as there are many remote parts which are not as up to date as they should be.

Traveling with Cannabis in Oregon

In Oregon, if you are 21 years of age or older, you may legally transport no more than one ounce of cannabis in public.

That is the only law regarding transportation of cannabis – it doesn’t get into the specifics of how you should exactly transport it. But a good rule of thumb is to act responsibly and always transport it in a sealed container that doesn’t look like you are up to driving under the influence or have intentions of possibly doing so.

Traveling with Cannabis in Vermont

As of 2018, you cannot have any sort of cannabis in the passenger area of your car that is accessible to both the driver of the vehicle or the passengers while they are seated during the trip. That includes the glove compartment. The best place in this situation, therefore, is to keep your cannabis in the trunk of the vehicle. If you do not have a trunk, the next legal place would be behind the backseat that is furthest back. If you are caught with any cannabis that is not in line with the law, you could face a $500 fee. In addition, you can only have one ounce of cannabis while driving at any given time.

Traveling with Cannabis in Washington

If you are transporting cannabis in Washington, it must remain in the trunk of the car. It can also be in some other part of the car that is not directly accessible by the driver or passengers. If you don’t have a trunk, you can also store it in a package or container that has not been opened, which has a fresh seal. Glove compartments will not suffice, so that is off the list.

Traveling with Cannabis in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. cannabis laws are a bit strange. You can transport cannabis of any amount less than 2 oz, but you can still be arrested under federal law for any amount of cannabis at all while driving. A bit contradictory.

Final Thoughts on Traveling with Weed in the U.S.

If you are going to be traveling through the U.S. as a tourist or as a citizen, it is important to know the laws regarding cannabis. The laws vary from state to state, and not knowing the law of the state you are about to enter or are currently driving in will not excuse you from punishment. Currently, there are 10 states and one Federal District where cannabis is legal for recreational use, and therefore legal to transport. So if passing through any other states, you need to be aware that it is not legal and you could possibly face jail time and fines. Though overall, as long as you are up-to-date with the laws in each place you intend to drive, you should be alright as long as the cannabis is stored properly and you are in compliance with the amount allowed while traveling. Happy travels!