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Everything to Know About Driving With Cannabis in Your Car in Legal Recreational States

Road Trips Cannabis
by Nickolaus Hines Jul 19, 2019

Say you’re in a state that allows recreational marijuana and you make a purchase from a recognized dispensary — better yet, you made the trip to one of the best cities for a recreational cannabis vacation. After dealing with exactly how to make your first recreational cannabis purchase, the first question you’re faced with is: How do I get all of these items I just legally purchased to a place where I can legally smoke it?

Traveling by car is usually the first option, but the rules about how you can transport your cannabis vary by state.

In most cases, marijuana is treated like alcohol. You can drive with it, but it better not be accessible to the driver and under no circumstances can the driver be high. Cannabis slows reaction time and can impair concentration and coordination. You wouldn’t drink and drive, so don’t get high and drive. All states include high driving as a DUI. Currently, the only sure way to test if a person is under the influence is through a blood test, and THC can remain in your system for weeks.

Plain and simple: Don’t consume cannabis and drive. You can, however, transport it safely. These are the laws you need to know about driving with cannabis in states with legal recreational marijuana;

Note: We’re not lawyers and this is not legal advice. Just be smart.


Cannabis and smoking materials can be in the cabin of a vehicle in Alaska so long as the person is legally allowed to possess it. If pulled over, an officer has the right to spot the cannabis or paraphernalia and conduct a physical impairment test.

There’s no state law dictating how cannabis is supposed to be transported in a vehicle. In Anchorage, however, it’s supposed to be in an unopened sealed container in the trunk of the car or behind the last row of seats.


Cannabis travel regulations fall under Vehicle Code 23222(b), which is California’s open container law. It states that all cannabis (flower, edibles, concentrates, etc.) in a vehicle has to be in a sealed, unopened container. The safest bet is to put it in your trunk. If you’re cited with an open container violation you can receive a fine up to $100.


Colorado is one of the few states with a set level of THC allowed for drivers (5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood). The state is just as strict on how it can be moved around.

Drivers and any passengers are prohibited from opening a cannabis product in the car. It’s a traffic offense if the product seal is broken, if you’re traveling with a container that has a partially consumed product, or if there’s evidence that it’s been used in the car. Traveling with a sealed product in the car is fine, but throw it in the trunk if not.


As the newest state to legalize recreational cannabis, Illinois is still working out many of the details regarding use and transportation. According to the letter of the law legalizing recreational use, cannabis must be in a secured and sealed container that’s “reasonably inaccessible while the vehicle is moving.”


You can have up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis in the cabin of the car in Maine as long as it’s sealed in a child-proof container.


All cannabis products must be in a closed container in the trunk or in a locked glove compartment (unlockable glove compartments are still a no-go) in Massachusetts.


You can have up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in the passenger area of the vehicle as long as the driver and none of the passengers are consuming it. Michigan is new to recreational cannabis and some of the specifics are still being worked out, but the safest way to go if you’re going to transport cannabis in the cabin of your vehicle is to keep it in a sealed container.


You can transport up to 1 ounce of marijuana or an eighth of an ounce of concentrate in Nevada. It has to be in a sealed container. Any open cannabis container is treated like an open alcohol container in terms of the law.


One ounce of cannabis, concentrate, or extract is allowed to be transported in a vehicle in Oregon, as is 16 ounces of edibles and 72 ounces of liquid cannabis. The marijuana cannot be stored where the driver has access and has to be in a child-proof container.


All products must be sealed when transporting cannabis in Vermont. Anyone — passenger or driver — who has an open container of marijuana can be cited with an open container violation, which carries a fine of up to $200.


Washington law requires all cannabis be either in the trunk of the vehicle or, if the car doesn’t have a trunk, in an area that isn’t occupied or accessible by the driver or passengers (the glove compartment doesn’t count). All cannabis also has to be in the original container it was purchased in with an unbroken seal. You can’t transport cannabis that’s been partially consumed.

Washington, DC

It’s illegal to smoke, eat, or drink a cannabis product in any public space, as well as visibly transport it. Washington, DC counts any vehicle on “any street, alley, park, or parking area” as in a public space.

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