Medical Marijuana Use While on Vacation in California

Q: Medical Marijuana use while on vacation in California? I have a valid California medical marijuana recommendation because I have cancer and am going through chemotherapy. I would like to take my kids camping this summer. Can I use my medicine at a campsite?

A: Although according to California medical marijuana law it is legal for patients to use medical marijuana as a treatment in conjunction with chemotherapy in the state of California provided the patient has a valid medical marijuana recommendation from a licensed physician, if you plan to camp on a federally owned campsite with your family it is illegal for you to possess or use medical marijuana on any federal land. This includes driving through federal land, such as on roadways through national parks and forests. Medical marijuana is considered an illegal substance by the federal government and patients are not protected. Since most of California’s national parks and forests are federal land medical marijuana patients are not safe from federal prosecution. Even if you plan to picnic on a beach that is federally owned, you could be subject to search by authorities and if medical marijuana is found in your possession you could be charged with federal possession statutes and your medicine confiscated.
Further, the problem of (medical) marijuana in a vehicle becomes more problematic when planning a camping trip with the family. Under California state laws, Vehicle Code 23222, drivers found in possession of less than one ounce of marijuana in their vehicle are subject to a misdemeanor fine. Larger amounts are punishable under H&SC 11357(a) and 11359. Possession of one ounce of medical marijuana or less is also subject to Vehicle Code 2322 and drivers may be charged and punished under HSC 11357 b.

Again, before you go to any campsite, be aware that medical marijuana recommendations are not recognized by the federal government and possession is considered a crime depending on the particular offense and the citing agency, no matter how egregious your illness is. The crime could be an infraction, a misdemeanor, or a felony. A California medical recommendation is not a defense in federal court to any charges of illegal possession.
If you are on probation, and are either considering obtaining a physician’s recommendation for medical marijuana, or are charged with a violation as a result of marijuana usage, growth or possession, you should consult with a skilled, professional attorney in order to fully protect and secure your rights to the extent possible.. Beck Law P.C. can furnish the experience and knowledge to help guide you through the complexities of California Medical Marijuana law.

Making an appointment to meet with a Beck Law P.C attorney who is well versed in current California medical marijuana law. rules and regulations is an investment in exploring what options may or may not apply to your particular situation. Your visit to Beck Law P.C. is confidential, as is the information discussed. You can contact our office at 707-576-7175 or contact us online.


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