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World Series Highlights Importance Of Medical Marijuana Reciprocity


world series marijuanaAll Medical Marijuana States Need To Recognize Out Of State Medical Marijuana Cards

By Dan Riffle, Marijuana Policy Project

When the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers face off in game one of the World Series tonight, it will be the first time two teams from different medical marijuana states meet in the Fall Classic (The Giants and Angels played an intrastate series in ’02). There may be a smattering of Tigers fans in attendance, but unless they’re transplants living in California, they probably won’t be medical marijuana patients. When the series shifts to Detroit for game three, however, patients in California will be able to follow their team to Detroit with their medicine. Why the difference? Reciprocity.

Reciprocity is what allows patients to travel from one medical marijuana state to another. States that have it recognize the legitimacy of those out-of-state patients’ ID cards, at least for a short period of time and under some limited exceptions. For example, some states only provide protections for visiting patients who would qualify under their own laws, so a patient from California who uses marijuana to treat insomnia would not be able to use marijuana in Arizona, where insomnia is not a qualifying condition.

Here’s what Michigan’s law says:

“Visiting qualifying patient” means a patient who is not a resident of this state or who has been a resident of this state for less than 30 days.

A registry identification card, or its equivalent, that is issued under the laws of another state … that allows the medical use of marijuana by a visiting qualifying patient … shall have the same force and effect as a registry identification card issued by the department.

There are 17 states that allow patients with doctors’ recommendations to use medical marijuana, but only five—Arizona, Maine, Michigan, Montana, and Rhode Island—include reciprocity. All of those states’ laws were drafted by MPP.

So how does a medical marijuana patient travel, you might ask? It would be very risky to drive from, say, California to Michigan, since that would involve passing through plenty of states that don’t recognize any form of medical marijuana. And while you might think the T.S.A. won’t take too kindly to flying with medical marijuana, they do have an unofficial policy of deferring to state and local authorities, and there are a few examples of patients boarding planes after their medication turned up at the security checkpoint. Obviously we don’t recommend Giants fans doing so without checking with the T.S.A. in Detroit first.

So there you have it. No word on whether two-time Cy Young winner, World Series champion, andnoted marijuana user Tim Lincecum is aware of the policy.

Republished with special permission from the Marijuana Policy Project


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Johnny Green


  1. How about visiting family members in another state ??? My daughter lives in FL so if I want to visit her I can’t use the medicine that helps me ! It is like saying Oxycontin is legal in this or that state but not legal in another state…that is totally INSANE and inhumane.

  2. If you’re a medical marijuana patient you get used to being kicked around and put in 2nd class citizen status. When I travel I just revert to the criminal mind and smuggle my meds. It works okay when you look like grandpa on vacation. I feel sorry for the young and hip looking traveler. Hell, I remember burning one outside the SLC airport when I got there early for my flight home. There was a nice little smoking area that was emtpy plus I didn’t want to take my last travel i-weed through security. Always use up your weed before the trip home to reduce the chances of getting a Mike Vick. Use small plastic air tight tube containers that appear to be “something” else.

  3. Yes. – I’ve alway thought reciprocity would be an important right to fight for. Without it, medical marijuana patients are virtual slaves to the states they live in.
    Let’s just hope at least one state passes their legalization initiative. That will cause the quick collapse of the shaky federal prohibition. Then we we won’t have to worry about the many vicious absurdities of the war on marijuana consumers – like this one.

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