Can I Take Marijuana From Colorado to Another State?

Learn whether you can take pot that you legally possessed in Colorado into another state.

Question

I heard that it is legal to travel with pot under Colorado’s new personal use law. I am planning a ski trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming this winter and I’d really like to have some weed for après ski. Can I take pot that I legally possess in Colorado into another state?

Answer

A “magic brownie” to go with your hot toddy, perhaps? Alas, I must harsh your buzz in advance. When in Wyoming (or any state), the laws of that state apply to you.

This article discusses state law regarding possession of marijuana for personal use.

“Legal” Is a Local Concept

Most criminal law is defined by state statute. Criminal codes vary from state to state, sometimes quite dramatically. Recreational marijuana and medical marijuana laws are a couple prime examples of how distinctly each state treats the same conduct.

Marijuana Laws in the States

In 2013, Colorado and Washington State both legalized the purchase and possession of marijuana for recreational use. As of this writing, they are the only states to do so, although proposed legalization laws are queued up to go to voters in California and other states. Many states have already legalized marijuana for medical use. However, over half of the states (including Wyoming) have held out and prohibit possession of any amount of marijuana for any purpose.

Neighboring States' Punishment Is Not Necessarily Mellow

In some states, such as Wyoming, the punishment for possession can range from a misdemeanor to a serious felony depending on the amount of marijuana in the possession of the person charged. A conviction may result in as “little” as a fine and possibly some jail time to years in a state penitentiary.

The fact that your purchase and possession of marijuana was legal in the state where you got it is no defense to possession in a different state with harsher laws. Not even a valid medical marijuana card from your home state will help you. For example, Wyoming law does not recognize the medicinal use of marijuana nor a medical marijuana card issued by another state.

Transporting Drugs Across State Lines

While you may not face criminal charges for having marijuana in your car in Colorado, you certainly would if you were stopped in Wyoming. And, it is possible that the fact that you were transporting drugs could lead to a more severe charge (for distribution of narcotics, for example). And, if you are stopped on an interstate highway, it is possible that federal laws could come into play, which can carry even harsher penalties.

Leave the Weed

In short, it is not worth the risk of arrest and conviction in Wyoming to bring drugs into that state given the state’s criminal laws. If you want to explore this further, talk to a criminal defense lawyer with experience in handling cases under the drug laws of the state you plan to visit. Nothing destroys a high quite as effectively as sitting in the back of a cop car.

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