It’s a common enough sight at parties or friendly get-togethers; you all want some weed, but can’t all be bothered to go to the store or dispensary.
It makes sense for just one of you to go, right? Have everyone sit tight and wait, while the unlucky person (or the one with the car) goes and picks up the weed.
Or maybe you just want to try your friend’s favorite strain, but it is only available at their dispensary. So, you just ask them to pick you up some extra bud on their next trip, and then they can give it to you.
But wait; is this legal? Is there any risk of committing a crime by doing this?
Why Would Picking up Weed for a Friend Be Illegal?
On the surface, it seems like it should be perfectly legal. After all, you are just picking up some weed for your friend, and marijuana is presumably legal where you are. How is it any different from picking up some food or beer for a friend?
Well, in much the same way that weed exists on permanently shaky legal ground due to the distinction between state and federal laws, picking up marijuana for a friend is similarly questionable.
Different states and jurisdictions have different laws about picking up weed for someone else, and wildly different reasons.
However, generally speaking, it comes down to dealing with laws relating to stifling or monitoring delivery services. In much the same way that food delivery services like Deliveroo or UberEats need tight control thanks to FDA regulations, so too does weed delivery.
If it were entirely legal to pick up a weed and give it to anyone, there would be no way to create a distinction between friendly weed sharing and a weed delivery service.
Adding money into the situation only complicates it further as well. It would seem perfectly sensible to be able to pay back your friend for picking up weed. But it might actually push you into some severe illegal territory. This again goes back to curtailing unregistered weed delivery services.
Some states control them by making it illegal for money to change hands when sharing weed, which makes it difficult for your friend.
However, rather than having to learn every single possible permutation of the law in different states, it might be easier just to have a convenient list right here. Let’s take a look at a few of the states in the USA with legal weed, and what they have to say about picking up marijuana for a friend.
Picking up Weed for a Friend in Colorado – Mostly Legal
As the first US state that legalized cannabis on a state level, Colorado tends to have pretty well entrenched and diverse laws concerning its consumption and purchase.
Most interestingly, the Colorado Department of Revenue only concerns themselves with the sale of cannabis at dispensaries and their employees. Essentially, this means that the state of Colorado only concerns itself with the purchase of marijuana. After it is sold, what you do with it is your business.
So, there aren’t any particular legal ramifications for picking weed up for your friend, but you might run into trouble if you start charging for it. Single reimbursements, such as paying back your friend, are not the same thing as official commercial sales, so that should be fine.
The problem is that, if you keep doing it consistently, you might find yourself being quietly investigated by the state.
They will start looking into you not necessarily because you bought weed for someone else, but because you might not be paying the state their share.
Picking up Weed for a Friend in Oregon – Legal
Oregon is another early adopter of cannabis on a state level and thus has quite clear laws about its use and consumption.
Thankfully, its clean simplicity extends to this situation, and it is legal to pick up weed for a friend in Oregon. The critical facet in Oregon is whether you were charging any money to pick up the pot.
As long as it was just regular reimbursement, then that is fine. If you start charging a higher price and thus acting as a reseller, then you might begin to find the IRS and the state government breathing down your neck.
There currently isn’t any specific law on the books in the state of Oregon about this, but you should still be careful. Make sure that you only ever buy the weed up to your individual allowance. Don’t go buying more pot than you are allowed at multiple dispensaries with the excuse that you are sharing it around.
Picking up Weed for a Friend in Massachusetts – Legal
The state of Massachusetts is similarly apparent when it comes to buying weed for your friend. As long as you are only buying cannabis for a friend that is 21 years or older and you have only reimbursed the cost of the weed itself, you should be fine.
Once again, keep an eye on your individual cannabis allowance so that you don’t accidentally go over it and break a whole new law.
Picking up Weed for a Friend in California – Unsure
California is probably the most confusing state on this list when it comes to buying weed for someone else.
California is still pretty new when it comes to legal cannabis, and with that comes a lot of legislation that is still being decided on.
This means that state regulators simply haven’t yet had the time to come up with what they want their laws to be. This also extends to buying weed for your friends – state enforcers aren’t 100% sure, so they are likely going to be harsher than they need to be.
There are a lot of unlicensed dispensaries and problems in California right now, so you want to ensure you don’t accidentally get in the way of the state enforcers for cannabis control.
Practically speaking, of course, as long as you are only giving weed to your friends and are only being reimbursed for your purchase, what is the state going to do? Even if it was decided to be illegal, there is almost no way actually to enforce that.
So, you are probably just fine to buy weed for a friend in California, but you should still be very careful.
Picking up Weed for a Friend in Washington – Illegal
The state of Washington was another early cannabis state, yet its laws are actually a fair amount stricter when compared to other legal states in the USA.
Despite its pretty laid back nature, it is actually technically illegal to give weed to a friend. RCW 69.50.401 prohibits the delivery of any sort of controlled substances to any individual. This means that, were you to try and pick up some weed for a friend, you would be breaking the law.
While you would likely not be prosecuted just for buying some weed for a friend, you should still be careful. You don’t want to have to deal with the police unnecessarily.
What to Do to Avoid Doing Anything Illegal When Picking up Weed for a Friend
There are a few things you can keep in mind and always practice to avoid crossing into the realm of illegality. Even when you are in a legal state that doesn’t mind you getting weed for a friend, if you keep these tips in mind, you should be fine.
Tip #1: Only Be Reimbursed; Don’t Charge Any Extra
If you are going to pick up weed for a friend, make sure that any money they give you is only to reimburse you. This means that whatever money you spend on marijuana should be the money you get from your friend in return.
If you try and charge a bit extra to make up for the effort it took for you to get the weed, you will likely be breaking some laws. You do not want to become an unofficial weed delivery service if you don’t mean to.
Tip #2: Only Buy as Much as You Are Allowed as an Individual
It can be tempting to buy more weed than you need for yourself if you plan on giving some to your friend. After all, the pot you are buying is going to be split between you and your friend, so why can’t you use both of your personal allowances?
However, the different personal allowances in different states should be considered rigid, immutable laws. No matter what you do, you do not want to break this law, as it is considered a breach of federal regulations.
Tip #3: Don’t Do It for Someone You Don’t Know
It should be pretty understandable that you do not, under any circumstances, want to buy weed for someone you don’t know.
While the image of buying some weed for someone as a favor might seem like a brave and noble act, you are only opening yourself up for trouble.
A great deal of the laws pertaining to buying weed for someone else makes mention of it only being permissible in circumstances when you actually know the person you are buying for. So, even if the state you live in has made it legal to buy weed for someone else, you can still be breaking the law if that person isn’t your friend.
It isn’t worth it to go to jail for someone you don’t know, so only buy weed for your friends.
Tip #4: Do Not Cross State Lines
When it comes to anything cannabis-related, you absolutely do not want to cross state lines with your weed. While this is tricky for those who live on the border between two states, you are only inviting trouble if you cross state borders with marijuana.
This is especially problematic if you are buying the weed for a friend; you are not only illegally carrying cannabis, but also technically dealing it.
If you are getting weed for your friend, keep it entirely within your own state to avoid dealing with different states’ laws.
Tip #5: Never Advertise Yourself to Others
This should be obvious, but do not start advertising yourself as a way for others to get weed. This is basically the same thing as trying to set up a weed delivery service, something you should only do with a very competent lawyer on hand.
If you are willing to pick up weed for a friend, try to avoid the reputation as “that guy” who will get you weed. That is basically just being a weed dealer, which can only be a bad thing legally speaking.
Tip #6: Keep It All Safe and Legal, Which Means No Minors
This tip is pretty general but is also easily the most important one. As far as you are able to, try to keep everything above board and legal.
Only buy what you are allowed to purchase and only buy from trusted, legitimate, and legal sources. This also extends to only buying weed for friends over the age of 21.
If your friend under 21 wants weed, you need to tell them that they have to wait until they are of the proper age. While it would be pretty tricky for the state government to track what you do with your weed, you absolutely do not want to be providing controlled substances to minors.
While buying more weed than you are allowed will get you in trouble, giving marijuana to a minor will get you into a much stickier situation.
Ultimately, keep your safety and personal security as your highest priority. Don’t risk going to jail just to get your friend some weed – no matter how much they want it!
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