The legalisation of recreational marijuana in some states and not others has raised a number of interesting questions about what can and cannot be done within the law. For tourists and travelers, one of the biggest questions is whether or not they can cross state lines.

Illegal Crossings

If you want the shortest, easiest answer you can have, it's this: No, you can't cross state lines. Doing so is, technically, illegal and could lead to an arrest.

Illegal States

This is most obvious if you're crossing into states where marijuana is still illegal. Perhaps you're from Michigan, and you drive out to Colorado for a weekend of skiing. You can buy marijuana legally while you're there, but, if you drive back to Michigan with it in the trunk of your car, your crossing into a number of states where it's no longer permitted. The authorities won't care that you bought it legally. Possession is still illegal.

Legal States

But what if you're leaving one state where it's legal for another where it's also legal? For example, perhaps you're from Oregon and you're driving into Washington.

Even then, though marijuana is legal on both sides of that imaginary line, you're still breaking the law. When crimes cross state lines they fall under federal jurisdiction. The federal government still says that marijuana is illegal, no matter what the states say. You're potentially risking arrest if you're caught transporting marijuana by federal authorities.

It is worth noting that some states, such as Oregon, also have state laws making it illegal to move marijuana across the state's borders, even though it's legal within the state.

Unexpected Charges

As you can imagine, the differences in the laws can lead to an unexpected arrest where you're picked up even though you didn't know you were doing anything wrong and never intended to break the law. This could still leave you facing serious charges. At this time, it's important to look into all of the legal rights that you have.