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What Patients Need to Know About Driving with Medical Marijuana
Thousands of Florida residents are finding relief from the symptoms of various medical conditions, thanks to the legalization of medical marijuana. Since recreational marijuana has yet to be legalized, many people have questions about Florida regulations around where and when they can use medical marijuana. Even more confusing are the rules that govern driving with and while using medical marijuana, especially when driving into and across other states.1
Medical Marijuana (MMJ) is used to treat a number of qualifying conditions. You can find out if you pre-qualify for a recommendation in just two steps! First, Take our eligibility survey. Once qualified for an in-person exam, you’ll receive scheduling instructions to see one of our Florida Medical Marijuana Doctors. Completing the survey takes only 5 minutes. Find out if you pre-qualify for a medical marijuana recommendation today!
What Do Floridians Think About Driving with Marijuana?
The Florida Survey Research Center at the University of Florida in conjunction with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles surveyed 693 Florida residents to gauge their knowledge of regulations and opinions about driving under the influence of marijuana. Of the respondents, one third said they had no knowledge regarding the laws surrounding this topic, and half said they were somewhat knowledgeable. This means, unfortunately, many medical marijuana patients in Florida are not equipped to make safe driving decisions.1 That is why DocMJ has published this guide to help Florida medical marijuana patients understand the laws around driving and medical marijuana use.
Florida Marijuana Laws
With the passage of Amendment 2 in 2016,2 medical marijuana was legalized in Florida, with more than 71% of voters supporting it. Next, Senate Bill 8A3 brought about the regulations that govern the use of medical marijuana. These laws outline the conditions that qualify for treatment and the process for medical marijuana card approval. The first step in finding treatment is to visit a Florida Medical Marijuana Doctor for a recommendation that is then reviewed by the state. Once the patient registers and is approved for treatment, they receive a medical marijuana card to be used in Florida dispensaries. Visit this popular page at docmj.com to learn more about Florida’s medical marijuana laws.
Is Driving with Medical Marijuana Legal?
Having medical marijuana products in their possession while driving is legal for registered medical marijuana patients. Therefore, those driving from a dispensary or needing to travel with medical marijuana treatments may legally do so. However, it is not legal to use medical marijuana products while inside their vehicle or while driving. This is because it is illegal to be under the influence of marijuana while driving. Additionally, marijuana is prohibited for use, according to Senate Bill 8A3, in the following places:
- On any form of public transportation *
- In any public place *
- In the patient’s place of employment (unless permitted by his or her employer)
- In a state correctional institution
- On the grounds of a preschool, primary school, or secondary school
- On a school bus
- In a vehicle
- In an aircraft
- On a motorboat *
Low-THC cannabis use is permitted in categories followed by an asterisk (*). Low-THC cannabis is defined as:
A plant of the genus Cannabis, the dried flowers of which contain .8 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and more than 10 percent of cannabidiol weight for weight.3
Can Florida Patients Drive with MMJ Into Other States?
As medical marijuana is still classified by the federal government as a Schedule I Substance,4 it is still federally illegal to be found in possession of marijuana. While many states, like Florida, have legalized medical marijuana, federal laws supersede state laws. Therefore, it is illegal to travel to other states in possession of medical marijuana, even if that state has legalized it. Many agree this seems impractical and confusing, like Allison Malsbury of Canna Law Group5. She said, “From a legal perspective, it’s very cut and dried. In practice, however, it’s very ambiguous. In practice, the chances of feds or the DEA sitting at the border waiting to catch someone – that’s just not happening. It’s not practical or worth their time.
On the other hand, Americans for Safe Access6 warn, “While your state may have medical marijuana laws, law enforcement officers often seize medicine, harass patients, and even arrest patients. The best law enforcement encounter is the encounter that never occurs.” They provide the following tips to avoiding such encounters:6
- Use Common Sense – Be careful of where and when you use because some products have a distinctive smell. Try not to attract attention by using marijuana in the open or near windows. This is also considerate of neighbors who might feel the smell is a nuisance.
- Do Not Drive While Medicating – Law enforcement can search your vehicle if they smell marijuana. It’s considered “probable cause.” Medicate after you arrive to your destination, especially since marijuana can affect motor skills.
- Limit the Amount You Carry – Carrying small amounts limits odors, deters thieves, and looks less suspicious.
- Carry Proof – In states where recreational marijuana is not legal, carry a copy of your doctor’s recommendation, marijuana card, and caregiver’s agreement (if applicable).
- Be Discreet – Avoid displaying products in plain sight, even if it means carrying them in your trunk. Routine traffic stops are the reason for many marijuana arrests.
What Should I Do if I Encounter Law Enforcement?
Remember, most states do not recognize medical marijuana status for patients while they are traveling. Yet for most, encountering law enforcement never happens. As a precaution, patients should always keep their recommendation current and carry a copy of it and their marijuana card in their wallet. To take it a step further, it is a good idea to also carry the name of the recommending physician and a lawyer’s phone number. Keeping friends and family informed about one’s medical marijuana use will ensure there are advocates in the case of an encounter with law enforcement. Loved ones should remain up-to-date on their rights should they ever be questioned. Finally, one should have an emergency plan of action, such as how to post bail or bond, how to protect personal belongings, and how to care for children or pets.6
Is Medical Marijuana Right for Me?
Whether medical marijuana will help your condition depends on many factors best evaluated by a medical doctor. If you feel you may benefit from medical marijuana, the first step is to take our eligibility survey. In just 5 minutes, you could pre-qualify for a Florida medical marijuana recommendation. A Florida Marijuana Marijuana Doctor can then determine if you qualify during an in-person exam. For more information, visit https://docmj.com.