Skip to main content

So, you’re in a state that allows the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. You make your first purchase from a recognized dispensary, which goes great. Now you want to drive to your destination but have one thought constantly running through your mind: “How do I transport the purchased items to a place where I can legally smoke pot?” In terms of car safety, is it allowed?

Your best bet would be to transport it in your car. However, since the legalization of marijuana in many states, there has been a subsequent increase in arrests made for the illegal possession of marijuana in the car. Therefore, it is important to understand the rules around transporting and smoking marijuana in a motor vehicle.

Marijuana seized from a car during a customs officer search in Ulm, Germany
Marijuana seized from a car | Stefan Puchner/picture alliance via Getty Images

In states where recreational cannabis is allowed, it is legal to have weed in your car, provided it is stored in a sealed container that is kept out of the reach of the driver and minors. As NCSL reports, the rules pertaining to having weed in the car are similar to alcohol. You cannot have joints out in the open in the back seat, the same way you can’t drive around with open bottles of beer in your car. So, if you want to transport pot in your car, ask yourself how you would drive around with legal alcohol.

Laws on driving with marijuana in the car

The laws around driving with marijuana in a car vary by state. The following are the rules around having weed in a car in the various recreational cannabis states, according to Leafy:


Keep your pot stored in the trunk if you are driving in Alaska. Since the legalization of marijuana, the state still has no limit for the amount of weed you can have in your system while driving. If you happen to get pulled over by the police, you should do an outstanding job to pass their sobriety test.


According to California Code 23222(b), which is commonly known as the “open container” law, it is illegal to drive with weed that is not stored in a container or is in an empty container. The best way to avoid getting in trouble when carrying pot in your car in California is to store it in your trunk.


According to Colorado’s open container law, it is illegal to have cannabis in the car if it is in an open container with a broken seal or if it is evident that cannabis was being smoked in the car. You can also be charged with DUI for marijuana if you have more than nine nanograms of active THC in your blood.


Maine law allows persons 21 years of age and older to carry up to 70 grams of cannabis in their car, provided that it is stored in a sealed childproof container.


In Massachusetts, all cannabis should be stored in a sealed container during transportation. If the seal is broken, you should keep the cannabis in the trunk or a locked glove box.


Transporting recreational cannabis in Michigan is legal only when stored in a sealed and labeled container in the trunk.


Cannabis in the vehicle should be sealed and kept away from the driver’s reach or minors when driving in Nevada.

It is important to note that these rules can vary depending on whether the weed is legal recreationally, medically, or both.

Penalties for driving with marijuana

While driving with weed in the car has now been legalized in some states, you will score fines if you break the set rules. DUI of marijuana is when a driver’s ability to drive is impaired owing to smoking weed. Even with the legalization of marijuana, DUI of marijuana is considered a criminal offense in all states. For example, the penalties for marijuana DWI in Texas are as follows, according to the Thiessen Law Firm:

  • First offense: 3 to 180 days in jail, a $2,000 fine, and a 1-year license suspension.
  • Second offense: 30 to 180 days in jail, a $4000 fine, and a license suspension of up to 2 years.
  • Third and all other subsequent offenses: A jail term of 2 to 10 years, up to $10,000 in fines, and a license suspension of up to 2 years.

The car safety of cannabis

Before driving around with pot in your car, it is first essential to understand marijuana laws in your state. It would be best if you also took responsibility for your safety. Because weed affects people in different ways, no level of marijuana is considered safe for driving.


Capt. Obvious: Smoking Pot While Driving Raises Fatalities