When it comes to medical marijuana policy, California has been the leader in almost every way. California was the first state in the nation to approve the legal use of medical marijuana and the first to have medical marijuana dispensaries. However, California is lacking in one area of medical marijuana. California doesn’t have any provision for out of state patient access to medical marijuana.
One would think that if states like Arizona and Montana have reciprocal agreements to honor other states’ medical marijuana patients that California would as well. Or even better yet, it would be better for out of staters if California had a provision like Oregon, where out of state residents can still get enrolled in the state’s medical marijuana program. But, out of state patients are left to fend for themselves when visiting beautiful California.
Planning a trip to Orange County California? If so, you better bring your own medical marijuana, because the medical marijuana dispensaries in Newport Beach don’t sell to out of state patients (in theory!). I learned this lesson the hard way last time I was in California. I was in the Los Angeles area and went into several medical marijuana dispensaries. No matter what I told them about my long time enrollment in the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP), they just gave me the ‘I’m sorry’ look and asked me to leave. I didn’t bring any medicine with me because I was always told how medical marijuana friendly California is, but apparently that was a different part of the state!
My friend Larry went to Hollywood, California to purchase medical marijuana once upon a time and he told me that he found a place that sells to out of state medical marijuana patients, but only after they got their California prescription in-house. I don’t know if this ‘pay to play’ deal exists elsewhere in California, but I couldn’t find it anywhere I was at this last visit. Any suggestions TWB readers in the Cali area? California is a top tourist destination, and who knows how many of those tourists are medical marijuana patients who are in need of safe access to medical marijuana.
Marijuana policy reform in California is a constant evolutionary process. There are efforts to legalize marijuana in California, to regulate it similar to wine, to put in place anti-medical marijuana discrimination in the workplace measures, etc. However, I never hear about anyone talking about opening up the program to patients visiting from other states. If California is going to stay the leader in medical marijuana policy in America, I really hope that the system will be fixed sooner than later.
Patients only risk a minor fine if they get caught in California with less than an ounce of marijuana, so it’s not as vital as in other harsher states. But with full protection not only would medical marijuana patients avoid all fines, it would also allow those patients to visit California’s endless supply of medical marijuana dispensaries. Which as a medical marijuana patient from Oregon who has visited California, I can say first hand the help would be greatly appreciated!