Marijuana Driver’s Ed: Your Guide to Hassle-free Driving with Your Medical Marijuana in Minnesota
So you finally get your Minnesota Marijuana Card and you’re planning your first visit to your local dispensary. But what good is being able to buy medical marijuana if you can’t get it home?
How do you safely and legally transport your medical marijuana? And can you drive your car to another state if you’ve got marijuana with you? Read on for a quick guide to making driving with marijuana as simple and hassle-free as possible.
Driving with Medical Marijuana in Minnesota
Just to be clear, we’re not advocating breaking the law here. We’re going to discuss how to transport your medical marijuana via your vehicle, not how to get away with driving while under the influence of that marijuana.
No matter what your college roommate told you about how they drove better while high, science indicates that marijuana use does indeed impair drivers. You shouldn’t drive a car when taking any number of medicines, and we don’t think you should treat medical marijuana any differently.
Nor are we going to discuss how to get away with taking your medical marijuana with you to another state via the interstate, as that’s illegal also.
OK, Dad. Enough with the Lecture. How do I Drive with My Medicine Legally?
Transporting your medical marijuana legally within Minnesota is pretty easy: Get a Minnesota Marijuana Card, and don’t travel with more marijuana than you’re legally allowed to have at one time.
The law permits medical marijuana patients to have no more than 90-day supply of their medicine on them at any given time. How much that is for you will vary based on your prescription and the potency of the medical marijuana you’re transporting.
But there’s a but, and it’s a big but!
According to the Minnesota Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA), there can be no more than 1.4 grams of marijuana total in a part of the vehicle accessible to the driver and passengers.
Is it just you in the car? Then you can’t have more than 1.4 grams of marijuana in the car with you. Is it you taking a few friends for a ride? Then there can’t be more than 1.4 grams of marijuana in the car.
Instead, you must keep your medicine in the trunk. Even the glove compartment is off limits.
That’s All I Have to Do?
In order to be in compliance with the law? Yes, that’s it. However, there are some best practices when it comes to driving with marijuana, and abiding by them can help make sure your drive goes as smoothly and problem-free as possible.
Just following the law doesn’t ensure that everything will go your way if you experience a traffic stop while you have medical marijuana in the car. As Americans for Safe Access, a non-profit group that advocates for increased access to marijuana for medical and research purposes, puts it: “The best law enforcement encounter is one that never happens.” With that in mind, we’ve paraphrased their suggestions for best practices.
Change your clothes after medicating and before driving. Unlike some states, Minnesota law doesn’t specifically cite the smell of marijuana emanating from the inside of a vehicle as probable cause to search that vehicle. However, Minnesota case precedent does specifically recognize the smell of marijuana as probable cause for a search and arrest, so whether you’re driving erratically or not, you don’t want that officer to smell marijuana when you roll down your window.
If you aren’t under the influence, but you did smoke earlier, any lingering smell may be the probable cause an officer is looking for. Yes, if you’re not under the influence you may ultimately escape charges, but who wants to take that risk?
If you don’t need it, leave it at home. As Americans for Safe Access puts it, “The less medicine you have with you, the less smell there is.” Don’t take any more medical marijuana with you than you’re going to need.
Be ready to document your right to have medical marijuana. Travel with your Minnesota Marijuana Card, and keep your license and registration up-to-date.
Be discreet. Although the law doesn’t say you have to, why not keep all of your medicine in your trunk, where it will be out of the sight of burglars and suspicious police. Do you really need that 1.4 grams in your pocket or glove compartment? We also suggest keeping it in a smell-proof container.
When Worse Comes to Worst
Any given traffic stop can take a turn for the worse, no matter what precautions you take. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind if for some reason your medical marijuana becomes an issue during a stop.
Police Officers are Allowed to Lie
If you are suspected of a crime, the police are permitted to lie to you in order to collect information to build their case. Officers might say they’ll get you a lower sentence or bail if you cooperate with them, or that there won’t be any charges if you just tell them the truth, but the police don’t actually have the power to promise those things; that’s in the hands of district attorneys and judges.
Be Polite, but Don’t Say More than You Have to. You shouldn’t be confrontational and invite trouble, but there isn’t any reason to say more than you have to either. The more you say, the greater the possibility that you’ll say something you regret.
As attorney Colin Murphy of the firm cautions about making small talk with police officers, “It may seem to be a harmless way to pass the time, but everything you do, from your breathing pattern, eye contact and other mannerisms to the story of your whereabouts that day, is being evaluated by the officer to determine whether there is a reasonable suspicion to expand this traffic stop for speeding into a drug interdiction investigation. Don’t volunteer information.”
In fact, Murphy suggests saying nothing at all to officers’ questions. “When he returns your license, insurance and registration forms, you should ask if you are free to go. If the answer is yes, then bounce. If no, then tell the officer that you are choosing to remain silent and you want a lawyer. These are important constitutional rights that you must exercise in this situation. Say the magic words and then shut it. Don’t say anything else.”
Don’t Say You Consent to a Search
In fact, Murphy says you shouldn’t even risk any ambiguity as to your refusal to consent. Saying something like “I’d rather you didn’t” might not hold up in court.
Police cannot search you or your vehicle without probable cause, and if they have probable cause they don’t need permission. Americans for Safe Access says “Do not physically resist officers when they are trying to search, because you could get hurt and/or charged with resisting arrest or assault and battery. Just keep repeating the Magic Words ‘I do not consent to a search’ so that the officers and all witnesses know that this is your stance.”
Stay Calm, and Remember Your Minnesota Marijuana Card
It’s unlikely you’ll experience a traffic stop going bad just because you have medical marijuana with you, so long as you’re not under the influence and you have a Minnesota Marijuana Card. Keep calm, keep your medicine in the trunk, and keep your Minnesota Marijuana Card with you.
Remember, that Minnesota Marijuana Card is not just your only way to legally get the relief only medical marijuana can offer, it’s also the only way to legally get it from place to place.
And remember also that failure to comply with the MMMA in any way can cost you that license for 30 days or longer, and give you a whole lot more to worry about then how to get your medical marijuana home.
Reserve Your Medical Marijuana Examination
And if you don’t have a Minnesota Marijuana Card? Well what are you waiting for? You can reserve an appointment with one of our caring doctors today, and we’ll schedule your evaluation just as soon as we’re cleared to do so. And you’ll save $25 off the cost of your evaluation!
You’ll meet with your marijuana doctor via your smartphone or computer in a telemedicine appointment, and together you’ll decide if medical marijuana is right for you.
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
Helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
If you have any questions, call us at (833) 781-6671, or simply reserve a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
And don’t forget to check out Minnesota Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information.