One word you’re bound to hear when learning about medical marijuana in different states is the term: Reciprocity. Since the laws are constantly evolving and vary from state to state, it can be difficult and confusing to know how to medicate out of state. It’s important to note the difference between medical and recreational marijuana. While most recreational states have medical programs, not many medical states allow you to use pot recreationally. So, to the best of my ability, I can try to help you understand what reciprocity means and how it works in our state of Florida.
What reciprocity ultimately boils down to is “Will X state accept an out of state medical marijuana card?”
In Florida, the answer is no. This isn’t unique to Florida, there are still plenty of states that offer medical marijuana cards and are non-reciprocal. Here’s one state that might surprise you: California. California will not accept an out of state medical marijuana card, despite medical marijuana AND recreational marijuana being legal in California. One can still purchase marijuana when visiting California, but despite it being for a medical purpose, it’s looked at the same as someone trying to have a ‘good time.’
Then there are the states where they’ll accept an out of state medical marijuana card with certain caveats. For example, Arizona will accept out of state medical marijuana cards, but not for visitors to the state. They’ll accept an out of state medical marijuana card, but you have to move to Arizona for the acceptance. Otherwise, you run the risk of arrest.
There are currently 29 legal medical marijuana states and Washington DC. In these states, you can get a medical marijuana card, but you must live in the state to do so. Out of these states, approximately seven (7) states are currently reciprocal to out-of-state cards at this time, which means . Just remember to be smart and responsible; those visiting out-of-state could be arrested for possessing medical marijuana, despite having both the condition and (out of state) card.
While Florida may not be among the reciprocal states, there is something that stands out about Florida – the medical marijuana law known as “The Snowbird Clause”. What this means is that as long as you live in Florida for at least 31 consecutive days per year and show a Florida address, you can get a card, even if you spend most of the year living in a different state. This game-changing clause is a huge win for the influx of snowbirds come wintertime! I take solace in the fact that the snowbirds are still eligible for a Florida Medical Marijuana Card, because conditions don’t stay at home when you’re on vacation.
*Please note: All numbers are subject to change on a daily basis.