Driving & Transportation with Medical Marijuana

A medical marijuana recommendation allows you to only obtain and use marijuana in California only.  You may not transport it out of California into another state or country (except Michigan, Montana, and Rhode Island where any medical marijuana state card will be valid).  Also even if you are flying within California, do not bring medical marijuana to the airport.  Airports are regulated federally and you will be prosecuted.  

It is illegal to transport into or out of the state, sell, furnish, give away, or attempt to give away marijuana.  

After you purchase medical marijuana you should always put it in the trunk of your car while driving.  California Highway Patrol(CHP) has agreed to stop taking cannabis from motorists in routine traffic stops who have a valid recommendation from a doctor.   Attorney General Bill Lockyer affirmed that medical marijuana use is sanctioned by California law despited U.S. Supreme Court ruling.   CHP officers were told in August 22, 2005 of the new policy which now allows patients traveling on state highways to have up to 8 ounces of marijuana with a valid recommendation.   Unfortunately there are still few rare cases where patients have their marijuana seized by CHP.  In most cases these patients are able get retrieve their marijuana by going to court and presenting the judge with their recommendation.  


It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.  This includes marijuana even if you are a medical marijuana patient. 

Should I submit to a breath, blood or urine test?

In order to prove you are under the influence, a police officer will ask you to take a breath, blood or urine test.  Marijuana shows up in your blood for only several hours as opposed to urine which can be 30-60 days.  

The breathalyzer test does not detect THC.  If asked to take additional tests, only pick the blood test if you have not used marijuana in the last two days.  However, since urine tests will always be positive,  if you have used marijuana in the past month, it is difficult to prove you actually are under the influence at the time you tested.  

Can you refuse to answer questions if you are pulled over? Yes. But once arrested you may not refuse to take a breathalyzer, blood or urine test if requested.  Refusing will cause a one to three year suspension of your driver’s license, depending on how many prior convictions you have.

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