Can I Get In Trouble Under Drug Possession Laws If I Have Medical Marijuana?

State medical marijuana laws do not give a person unlimited rights to use, possess, transport, or distribute marijuana. Medical marijuana patients and providers must be mindful of their state laws and local ordinances, including limits on how much marijuana they can legally possess or cultivate and how it may be distributed to patients.

Marijuana is illegal and classified as a Class I narcotic by federal law. Only 14 states, as of June 2010, allow its use for medical reasons. However, in most cases, carrying a valid medical marijuana prescription card or another document approved by your state will allow you to avoid being arrested on marijuana-possession charges, provided you are in compliance with your state laws.

Even in some states where medical marijuana has not been approved, people who are charged with illegally possessing the drug may be allowed to raise a medical need as a legal defense to drug possession charges.

Maryland, which has not legalized medical marijuana, allows defendants who are charged with marijuana possession to use medical reasons for possessing the drug as a defense in court.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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