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420 Friendly Holiday Destinations and Cannabis Laws

Planning a vacation was difficult, if not impossible, in 2020.  That was the year the Covid-19 pandemic began.  And it changed everything about the way we live, work, and play.  And put a nix on vacation plans for most people for two years.

Now there are very few travel restrictions and only common sense prevention steps to keep yourself (and others) healthy.  That means the world is open to new and exciting travel experiences.  But where should you travel if you use medical cannabis daily?

The case of Brittney Griner, the Phoenix Mercury basketball player who was imprisoned in Russia for six months.  Thankfully, the Texas native is home safe with her family at the time of writing. But it brought international attention to a growing concern.

If you are a patient who has a medical marijuana card and you want to travel, what steps do you need to take to do it safely?  Often the solution is to travel to a location that is 420 friendly with accommodating cannabis laws. 

Before you start packing, check out our tips on choosing 420 friend holiday destinations in the United States and overseas. And get tips on researching cannabis laws before you travel for your safety.  And to ensure accessibility (where possible) for you to legally purchase medical marijuana. 

States with medical marijuana

States That Have Reciprocity Cannabis Laws

If your idea of the perfect vacation means getting out of your home state (but not the country), we’ve got some important tips. Because when it comes to purchasing and possession of medical cannabis, the laws are very different in certain states.

For example, if you visit family or friends and stay at a residential address, you could apply for a temporary medical card.  Some states, like Oklahoma, provide short-term cannabis cards for qualified patients.  And it gives you the same legal rights and protections as a permanent resident. 

Some states require you to complete a medical card health evaluation with one of their own physicians. And apply to join the patient registry.  Then, you can be issued something similar to a “canna-tourist” or visitor card.  And remember, qualifying health conditions also vary by state. You may be eligible in your home state but not in a different state you travel to. 

In Florida, for example, snowbirds or retirees that spend six months or more renting or living in a vacation home can get a temporary medical card. You will still need proof of residency (a Florida address), photo identification, and an eligible qualifying health condition. 

Some states require patients to apply for a new card.  Other states, however, will accept your medical card issued by another jurisdiction.  And that can save you a lot of money. You would not have the expense of a physician appointment and health evaluation, and patient registration fee. 

states with medical marijuana cards (1)

States That Accept Out-of-State Medical Cards 

Is it possible to visit a state and use your existing medical card to purchase cannabis legally? Yes, in certain states.  There are jurisdictions where your medical card and government-issued photo identification are enough to grant you access to medical marijuana. 

Other states validate patients with medical cards issued by other states. That means if you have a medical card in your home state, you will be able to use it the same way in the reciprocal state.  There is an agreement that the destination state will treat you like one of its own, and you will have the same protections and restrictions in terms of quantity and potency as resident patients. 

States that have complete  reciprocity agreements (who will accept your out-of-state medical card) in 2022 include:

  • Arkansas 
  • Arizona
  • Hawaii
  • Louisiana
  • Maine 
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire 
  • New Mexico
  • New Jersey
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Washington D.C.
  • West Virginia (specific conditions)

Naturally, if you are visiting a state where adult use is legalized?  No worries! Because you can literally walk into any dispensary (medical or recreational) and purchase cannabis products.  As long as you are of legal age and have a government-issued photo ID. 

marijuana laws canada

What Are Cannabis Laws Like in Canada?

Maybe your idea of a fantastic vacation is a ski slope or hitting the hot springs in Banff, British Columbia.  After all, everyone knows that BC bud is legendary, and Landrace strains are plentiful. Chilling out in some of the other cities that never sleep, like Toronto, Calgary, or Montreal, is your idea of fun.

For decades Canadian tourists have been traveling to the United States.  But since Canada federally legalized cannabis, the tourism tide has shifted.  There are responsible use laws, but there are few restrictions for medical cannabis in Canada.  It is a country where recreational weed is more than okay. 

This may blow your mind a little.  There are amazing dispensaries across the country; in some provinces, you can order it online for home delivery from dispensaries and the Provincial Government in some cases. 

In Ontario, Canada, for example, beer and liquor retail happen at the (wait for it) The Beer Store and the LCBO (Liquor License Control Board)  So, just as the provincial government sells those controlled substances, so are cannabis. At the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS)

You can get your cannabis products delivered to a private residence or a hotel room. Pretty convenient, eh? But recreational dispensaries are not your only choice.  If you want the expert recommendations of a budtender, there are medical dispensaries too. 

marijuana laws mexico

Can You Legally Purchase Medical Cannabis in Mexico?

If traveling North of the 49th parallel sounds too chilly, a trip to Mexico may warm you up.  With all the beautiful beaches, sunshine, and street tacos, you can eat? Sounds pretty dreamy, but what are the marijuana laws like in Mexico now?

Confusing is one way to put it. Essentially, possession of under five ounces of marijuana is decriminalized.  A tourist should not face any legal consequences as long as they do not have more than five ounces of cannabis. 

Unfortunately, some jurisdictions in Mexico refuse to accept the federal rule on decriminalization.  Local police may not honor the federal mandate, and you could find yourself in a lot of legal trouble, depending on where you visit in Mexico. Being a non-Spanish-speaking tourist may only help matters a little.

Many people feel that Mexico will move ahead and finish legalizing cannabis in 2023.  Until then, consider the country a 420-unfriendly zone with significant legal risks for purchasing or possessing cannabis. 

Read: “Is Weed Legal in Mexico?” on Leafly.

traveling with medical marijuana

The Worst Places in the World to Be Charged With Cannabis Possession 

There are some countries that may never legalize cannabis for medicinal or adult-use purposes.  And the penalties for buying, possessing, or using cannabis are scary in countries where you never want to be convicted of a cannabis-related crime. 

Here are some of the most unfortunate legal consequences for the possession or use of cannabis in countries that have zero tolerance.  Whether you are a patient or not.

  • Singapore 10-year sentence, $20,000 SG fine, and caning. 
  • Indonesia 4-14 year sentence.
  • Russia 15 days to 3 years imprisonment.
  • Saudi Arabia 1-6 years and public lashing. 
  • Uganda 5-10 years.
  • Tunisia 5 years.
  • UAE 4 years. 
  • Philippines up to life imprisonment. 
  • France 1 year and fine. 

While they are beautiful destinations, you should put those countries on the bottom of your travel bucket list, at least until they reform cannabis laws (and many countries are doing that). 

However, many countries have already decriminalized cannabis.  That means as long as you don’t have more than the allowable amount of cannabis in your possession, you will not face criminal charges.  

  • Chile
  • Jamaica
  • Spain
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Peru
  • Netherlands
  • Portugal 
  • Paraguay
  • Malta
  • Germany (self-harm law)

Keep in mind that countries and jurisdictions decriminalizing cannabis may still confiscate your cannabis. And you can still get a citation or fine for smoking in public if it is prohibited.  Research the cannabis laws before you travel, and follow them carefully to avoid problems.