Small bag of marijuana

If you live in or plan to visit a state where recreational marijuana is legal, you may believe that you can light up a joint wherever and whenever you like. However, that's not the case. It's essential to know the state laws regarding marijuana and remember that it's considered an illegal drug under federal law.


Of course, driving under the influence of marijuana anywhere is illegal -- not to mention dangerous. So is having it in an open container or loose in your vehicle where you can reach it. If you're driving home from the dispensary, treat it as you would a bottle of alcohol you bought at the store. Keep it unopened and secured in your trunk.

Traveling with Marijuana

Traveling across state lines with marijuana is illegal. Even if you're motoring down the West Coast from Washington through Oregon to California -- all states where recreational weed is legal. You never know when you might get pulled over for speeding or some other issue that gets an officer's attention. Don't risk letting him or her find it on you or in your vehicle.

Don't think about bringing marijuana on a plane, either. Even if you have it in your carry-on bag and have no intention of lighting up at the airport or on the plane, it can be confiscated by TSA agents, who work for the federal government. Chances are, you won't be arrested, but if they find it, they won't let you get on the plane with it.

Using Marijuana in a Public Place

Currently, none of the states where recreational marijuana has been legalized allow people to use it in public. It may legally be used only in a private residence. Don't think about lighting up in a national park, either. These belong to the federal government, which, as noted, considers the drug illegal.

Buying and Selling Marijuana

You can't just go down to the local dispensary and load up a grocery bag with edibles and joints. State laws limit how much a person can buy in one day. If you want to go from one dispensary to the next to stock up, you may get away with it, but you're breaking the law.

Speaking of dispensaries, the sale of marijuana is carefully supervised. Dispensaries need to be licensed and must follow the laws limiting how much they can sell a person each day. Selling marijuana to someone without a license is illegal.

If you find yourself facing marijuana-related charges, even in a state where recreational use is allowed, it's important to seek guidance from an experienced criminal defense attorney. You don't want to take such charges lightly.