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Keeping it Medical: How to Avoid the Legal Pitfalls with your Medical Marijuana

As laws surrounding medicinal marijuana begin to change with many state regulations softening, it is important to realize that there are laws in place, which remain to control the substance. States like Washington and Colorado allow for the recreational use by individuals over the age of 21. Other states like Oregon, are awaiting the legalization after Measure 91 passed on November 4, 2014. But Oregonians be weary, the bill doesn’t take effect until June 1, 2015.

With all these new measures, cannabis still has some limits and legal controls in place. If you’re going to legally use marijuana for medical and recreational purposes, there are guidelines to follow which will help you stay out of trouble with the law.

Avoid Driving High

Driving high is as ill advised as driving with alcohol in your system. It goes without saying that getting behind the wheel under the influence of any intoxicant is a bad idea. But as far as marijuana is concerned, authorities in legalized states are on the lookout for offenders due to the increased use of marijuana. Avoid getting a DUI and furthermore, don’t put yourself and others at risk by operating a vehicle after consuming marijuana.  DON’T SMOKE IN PUBLIC WHILE INSIDE A VEHICLE!

Look Out for Others

Being discrete is always a smart approach. If you’re carrying or have marijuana in your possession, do not allow it to fall into the wrong hands. It might be legal for you to possess, but that isn’t the case for everyone. You can consume weed many different ways, including chocolates, candies and baked goods. As a medical patient, you are the only one authorized to consume marijuana and it is against the law to distribute cannabis. So if someone else eats a chocolate or candy, you’re accountable for their actions, accidental or not, and liable for the illegal consumption of your marijuana.

Smoking in Public is Still Illegal

It is still against the law to smoke or consume marijuana in public. Many people have made the mistake of lighting up in public, due to weed’s legalization. However, legal marijuana must be consumed in private. Not everyone is for the legalization of cannabis. It is an infringement on his or her rights to smoke in public, much like drinking in public is frowned upon. For your own safety, avoid unwanted attention and smoke in the privacy of your home or in designated smoking areas.

Carry your Card and Research Legal Help

Your medical marijuana card should be tucked right behind your driver’s license and be on you at all times to avoid unnecessary legal action. In states where recreational consumption is allowed, identification proving your legal age of 21 should suffice. If you do encounter the law regarding the legality of smoking marijuana, know your rights. You have the right to remain silent. You can refuse to be searched without a proper warrant present. If you are arrested and must appear in court, be sure to research a reputable criminal defense attorney to represent you.

Following these simple guidelines should steer you clear of any serious legal issues. Don’t stray from your legally bound right to consume marijuana medicinally, or depending on which state you’re residing in, recreationally. Educate yourself on medical/recreational marijuana laws to a point where you feel comfortable with your understanding of your rights, and enjoy.

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Author: HMJ Staff


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  • I live in Canada, the laws make it difficult for me to act legally when transporting my medicine. I really wish the legalization process would speed up.

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