Indigenous people have used marijuana for medicinal purposes for centuries to relieve pain and reduce anxiety. The United States banned marijuana for recreational use for nearly 100 years. However, a flood of medical research found that marijuana has medicinal applications for cancer patients, AIDS patients, and patients with chronic pain. 

 In 1996, California passed the first legislation legalizing marijuana for medicinal use. Since the first medical marijuana bill was passed, many other states have legalized the use of medicinal marijuana.

If you are curious about what the laws for medical marijuana cards are and what medical marijuana reciprocity laws are, here is some information about the medical reciprocity laws and how they apply to patients.

What is Medical Marijuana Reciprocity?

Several states have legalized cannabis for recreational use as well as medicinal uses. In the states where recreational marijuana is legal for people 21 years of age and older (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C.) In states where recreational marijuana is legal, people do not have to have a medical marijuana card in order to buy cannabis products or recreational marijuana.

However, in states where medical marijuana is legal, but recreational marijuana is not, patients must present a medical marijuana card. In most states, you can receive a medical marijuana card by making an application to the state. You have to have your doctor sign off on the application. Usually, it takes a few weeks for your medical marijuana card to come in, but after that, you’ll be able to get medicinal marijuana anywhere with a dispensary in your state. You may also be able to purchase medical marijuana when you travel, if you travel to a state that allows medical marijuana reciprocity.

Medical marijuana reciprocity allows patients from one state to buy medical cannabis products from a dispensary in another state.

Medical Marijuana Laws: Reciprocity

The reciprocity laws for medical marijuana can be complex. Some states will only grant reciprocity to patients who are transporting marijuana to a location they are visiting, but the patient can’t buy medical marijuana. The legal medical marijuana card allows people legal protection from prosecution, and it allows them to use their medical marijuana according to the rules of the state.

True reciprocity is a little different. In some states, if a patient has a medical marijuana card, they are able to purchase medical marijuana from a dispensary, even if they don’t live in that state.

States with Medical Marijuana Reciprocity


In Arizona, people who have a medical marijuana card from another state have some rights, but there are qualifications. First, you can’t be an Arizona resident, or you must have moved to Arizona within the last 30 days. Second, you must have a medical condition that is listed as a qualifying medical condition in Arizona, such as ALS, dementia, cancer, glaucoma, and chronic pain. However, recreational marijuana is legal in the state, but the possession limit is 2.5 ounces per person over 21.


You can purchase medical marijuana legally in Arkansas with a medical marijuana card from another state. You have to fill out some paperwork, and you must have your medical marijuana card with you.


Maine has recently changed its medical marijuana laws. You can buy recreational marijuana in the state now. However, if you want to carry your medical marijuana card, the state grants you the same rights with your card that you have in your home state.


Michigan law allows the medical marijuana dispensaries to decide for themselves if they want to recognize the patient’s out-of-state medical marijuana card. You don’t need your medical marijuana card to buy cannabis in Michigan, because recreational marijuana use is legal. You are allowed to possess 2.5 ounces per person if you are over 21.


If you are in Missouri and you have a medical marijuana card on you, you can possess as much as 4 ounces of cannabis. You cannot purchase medical marijuana from a dispensary in Missouri, however.


If you have a valid medical marijuana card, you have the same rights in Montana as you do in your home state. Make sure you have your state ID with you as well.


You have the same rights in Nevada as a Nevada resident with a medical marijuana card.

New Jersey

Recreational marijuana is now legal. Medical marijuana cards from other states are legal in New Jersey. However, to purchase medical marijuana in New Jersey, you have to be certified by a New Jersey doctor.

New Hampshire

Patients with a medical marijuana card and a qualifying medical marijuana condition can possess medical marijuana, but they can’t purchase cannabis from a dispensary in the state.

New Mexico

Medical marijuana patients with a current medical marijuana card can purchase and possess cannabis in the state.


You can have medical marijuana on you in Oklahoma if you have a legal medical marijuana card. If you want to purchase cannabis, you have to fill out forms first.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island recently updated its medical marijuana laws. If you have an active medical marijuana card, you can both purchase and possess medical cannabis.


Utah allows non-residents to possess medical cannabis in the state. You can also purchase medical marijuana in Utah for 45 days while you’re visiting or if you have just moved to the state. After 45 days, you will need additional paperwork to purchase cannabis.

Washington D.C

The District of Columbia accepts medical marijuana cards from other states. However, a patient must have the card issued by the state, not by a doctor. You can possess an ounce of medical cannabis legally in the district.

States Without Medical Marijuana Reciprocity

While there are many states that allow the possession or purchase of medical marijuana by people who are from out of state, other states don’t.


There has been a lot of items in the news about Georgia. The southern state grants limited access to medical marijuana with a restrictive list of conditions granted access, such as oil to control seizures. The state also allows the sale of CBD and THC products over the counter, but only those products with a limited amount of cannabis. The state does not allow reciprocity.

New York

While New York marijuana law does not allow reciprocity for medical cannabis, recreational cannabis is legal for people 21 years old and above.


Residents are allowed to consume non-smokable forms of cannabis, such as gummies and other edibles for medical purposes. Foods and beverages that contain cannabis are also legal, for medicinal purposes.There are also rules that limit the CBD and THC from cannabis products. However, the state does not have reciprocity with other states. Recreational use of cannabis products is illegal.


According to Pennsylvania marijuana law, out-of-state medical marijuana cards and reciprocity are not accepted. However, if a parent or guardian has medical marijuana for a minor from out of state, that is legal.


Ohio was one of the first states to decriminalize marijuana in the mid-1970s. However, decriminalization does not equal legalization. Recreational use of marijuana is prohibited in the state. However, Ohio legalized the use of cannabis for medical purposes in 2016. Patients cannot smoke the cannabis, but the CBD and THC can be used in tinctures, oils, edibles, vapors, and patches. In Ohio, most chronic conditions, such as MS and ALS, cancer, AIDS/HIV, and glaucoma can apply for a medical card in the state. There is no reciprocity with other states.


Legalized the recreational use of marijuana in July of 2022. People in Virginia no longer need a medical marijuana card to get cannabis. They will still need a marijuana certificate from a doctor for medical marijuana. You are allowed to buy small amounts of recreational marijuana, but the state does not have a reciprocity clause.

As of 2022, these states do not have reciprocity agreements with other states. However, you should continue to check back because state legislation is always changing.


While the laws are always changing, it is important to make sure that you always carry information with you if you are planning on traveling with your medical marijuana. If you have a chronic medical condition that you are using medical cannabis for, be sure that you have your state-issued ID. You can use a state ID card, military ID, or your state driver’s license. If there is any additional paperwork you have to prove you can legally possess medical marijuana, you should bring that as well.

Be sure before you travel, you also check with the state you are traveling to in order to figure out how much medical cannabis you can possess. In some states, you can possess up to 4 ounces of cannabis, while in other states, it is only an ounce. If you are using drops or edibles, check with the state to figure out how much of your cannabis medication you can bring with you. That way, you can use your medication legally without worrying.