With more and more states starting to legalize the recreational consumption of marijuana, the industry of cannabis tourism has sprouted up almost overnight and quickly become a multi-million dollar business. States like Colorado, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, and more have become tourist hotspots for those who wish to enjoy recreational marijuana in a setting that’s legal and protected. However, while weed may be legal there, it’s still against the law in most other states, and that could lead to some problems back at home if you aren’t careful to follow the laws when traveling.
On this blog, we offer some advice for those considering taking one of these cannabis-fueled vacations so they can avoid running in to trouble with the law back home here in Florida.
Is Cannabis Tourism Legal?
As a resident of Florida, is it legal for you to travel to another state and partake in recreational marijuana consumption? Good news for those who wish to do so: it’s absolutely legal. When you are in another state where marijuana consumption is legal, you’re well within your right to do so, provided you follow that state’s laws and restrictions. For example, some states don’t allow public consumption, others don’t allow consumption within a certain distance of schools or childcare centers, and some don’t allow you to purchase marijuana past a certain time of the day. All states with legalized recreational cannabis forbid driving while under the influence.
Traveling With Marijuana
While traveling to enjoy cannabis may be legal, traveling with cannabis is where most people find themselves running into trouble. Should you decide you wish to take a souvenir of your experience back to Florida with you and continue to enjoy some of the cannabis back at home, you run the risk of facing serious legal consequences for a variety of reasons.
Marijuana is still against the law on a national level, and that means transporting the drug over state lines is a federally-prosecuted offense. Even if you’re going from one state where cannabis is legal to another, you could still face charges of drug trafficking, which carries serious penalties and is prosecuted in federal court.
If you’re traveling by car, authorities have been keeping a close eye on major roadways between these states and cracking down on those they suspect may be carrying cannabis with them. If they find that you have marijuana in your possession, you could be arrested and face prison time as well as large fines.
However, for Florida residents, it’s far more likely that you’re going to be traveling by air should you wish to partake in cannabis tourism. The closest states to Florida with legalized recreational weed are Colorado and Massachusetts, and neither of those are what you would consider a “short” drive away. If you’re flying back to Florida, you’ll need to go through security screenings, and TSA security screening checkpoints are under federal jurisdiction, not the states where the airport is located. Because marijuana possession is still against the law on a federal level, carrying the substance through a security checkpoint could result in your arrest and on federal marijuana possession charges.
What about packing your souvenir in with your checked bag? Baggage screening checkpoints are also federal jurisdiction, which means any marijuana in these bags that’s found will be confiscated, and the bag’s owner could be charged with possession. The TSA manually checks bags that fail their screening plus a selection of random bags, so there’s a decent chance your stash could be found.
Florida Marijuana Laws
If you are able to bring marijuana back to Florida, you could face even further trouble. Florida’s laws are particularly strict when it comes to cannabis, and possession of any amount over 20 grams could be considered a felony offense. With felony penalties carrying a prison sentence as high as 30 years and a fine of as much as $200,000, there’s a lot riding on the line for even a seemingly minor offense.
If you’ve been charged with possession of marijuana, get help from an experienced Daytona Beach drug crimes attorney by calling Hager & Schwartz, P.A. today! Dial (386) 693-1637 now to schedule your initial consultation.