Bringing Legal Marijuana Across State Lines

Marijuana is still illegal in Missouri. Even small amounts — a maximum of 10 grams — can still bring misdemeanor charges and fines. Larger amounts bring about more serious charges and could result in jail time.

You’ve been a big fan of the movement to legalize marijuana over the years. You’ve watched as states like Colorado have taken this next step. Yes, the pot sales are highly regulated and only small amounts can be legally sold, but it’s a game-changer.

You decide that you’re going to take a vacation this summer. You’ll drive out to Colorado, hike in the mountains for a week while enjoying the legal marijuana the state now has to offer. You might even plan to bring some back with you when you return to Missouri. Since you bought it legally, you figure, you won’t run into any issues with the law. Right?

Crossing state lines

Wrong. There are a few reasons this won’t work, and you could still get arrested. You can protest that you bought it legally all you want, but it makes no difference.

For one thing, the law in Missouri remains the same, no matter what happens with laws in other states. That law prohibits not just purchases and sales, but possession. You may have bought it legally, but you literally cannot possess it legally in Missouri. If you have it on you, you violate that law. Receipts from Colorado don’t get you out of those charges because the police do not care where you bought it.

Secondly, crossing state lines with marijuana is illegal. Remember that criminal activity that crosses state lines falls under federal jurisdiction, not just state jurisdiction. Federal law says that marijuana is illegal. The feds do not care if you bought in a state with different laws. Under their regulations, you broke the law.

This means that even those traveling across border states where it’s legal on both sides — which it’s not in Missouri — could theoretically face legal ramifications. If you drive back to Missouri with marijuana in the trunk of your car, you open up a whole host of possibilities for law enforcement officers.

The ramifications

How steep are the penalties? It depends how much you bring into the state. Trafficking 30 to 100 kilograms could net you Class C felony charges, which may result in a $10,000 fine and 3 to 10 years behind bars.

With the changing marijuana laws across the country, confusion is bound to cause people to break the law without knowing they’re doing so. Unfortunately, the authorities who catch you likely won’t care if you knew you broke the law or not. If you get arrested, it is very important to understand all of your legal rights.

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