You have likely seen the trends around the country, as more and more states decriminalize marijuana or make recreational use legal. In places like Michigan or Colorado, you can just drive to a dispensary and buy marijuana the same way that you would drive to a party store and buy alcohol. You can transport small amounts of it on yourself or in your car, and you can have it in your home.
However, those trends have not yet come to Louisiana. It’s unclear if they will in the future or not, but marijuana remains illegal in Louisiana in the same way that it once was in the rest of the country. This means that it is still a criminal offense to buy, sell or transport this controlled substance.
What you may be thinking is that you just need to drive to a state where marijuana is already legal, buy it there, and then drive back to Louisiana. After all, this would be a completely legal purchase. You’re not trying to break the law. You’re just trying to take advantage of the fact that other states have different laws. Can you do this?
This is still illegal for two reasons
You absolutely should not do this, and there are two main reasons for it. First and foremost, no matter where you bought the marijuana, it is still illegal in Louisiana. Once you return to the state, you will then be in violation of the law. You can tell a police officer that you made a legal purchase and even show them the receipt from another state, but that doesn’t change the legality once you come home. You could still be arrested.
The second reason is that marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. Whenever crimes cross state lines, they are subject to federal laws. This means that transporting marijuana from another state into Louisiana is illegal both under state and federal laws. In fact, in an interesting twist, even transporting it across state lines between two states that allow recreational marijuana use is illegal at the federal level. But this is especially problematic when the state that you’re entering also doesn’t allow it.
If you do something that you think is legal and a mistake leads to an arrest, that’s when you need to know exactly what criminal defense options you have.