With the growing trend nationwide for a relaxation of legal penalties directed against those possessing Marijuana, I have been asked on numerous occassions whether a lawful prescription for medicinal Marijuana granted elsewhere will protect from prosecution within Indiana.
People searching for a way to engage in lawful Marijuana possession are optimistically inclined to reason that the concept of “reciprocity” should allow for the use of lawfully prescribed Marijuana out of state to be tolerated within the boundries of Indiana.
Reciprocity is a process by which one state honors the legal order of an out of state entity. However, reciprocity pre supposes that the out of state legal determination is one that both complies with what is lawful in Indiana and is consistant with a designated range of penalties for a crime commited within the state.
For example, within the scope of a drunk driving conviction out of state for one with an Indiana drivers license, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles would be inclined to apply reciprocity to an out of state legal determination as to the duration of a license suspension provided the length of suspension fell within the acceptable terms of Indiana law.
Reciprocity is granted in such an instance based upon a mutual recognition between both states that drunk driving is in fact a violation of law. As such, Indiana’s only consideration in accepting the imposed out of state judgement in the above referenced license suspension example is based upon not whether dui is a criminal offense but simply whether the duration of the out of state license suspension for the mutually recognized offense of drunk driving complies with what is legally acceptable to hold an Indiana drivers license.
In the case of prescribed Marijuana, there is no reciprocity between Indiana and other state entities recognizing legally prescribed Marijuana due to the fact that possession of Marijuana in any form is not at this time legal within the borders of Indiana.
For those out of state travelers possessing prescribed medical Marijuana, please take note that the prescription you hold will not in fact serve as a shield with which to protect you from prosecution if traveling within Indiana.
Significantly, one operating a motor vehicle with Marijuana (metabolite) in one’s system can be prosecuted even in instances where the drugs detected were not alleged to cause impairment in driving activity. As Marijuana lawfully prescribed and ingested may remain in the system for weeks following medical usage elsewhere, such proper application and treatment will not enable the dismissal of potential criminal charges of possession and/or operating with metabilite in the system for unaware drivers affected by these conflict of laws when traveling within Indiana.
The day may come when those within the Indiana general assembly see fit to decriminilize and/or allow for an enlightened view of medicinal Marijuana to take hold within the conservative confines of Indiana. Until that elusive day arrives, I would suggest caution when operating a motor vehicle within Indiana despite your doctor’s orders.