Flying with Marijuana: What to Know
By Justin May for Loud News Net
As a marijuana lover, having access to weed is almost always a priority. This can make traveling a bit complicated, as you may not be sure where to buy at your destination, or even if you should. Bringing your own supply is usually the best option in these cases. And although COVID-19 may have put a hold on some of your vacation plans; traveling with weed is still very much a hot topic of discussion. In the past, the topic was almost completely taboo. However, with cannabis becoming legal all over the country, it’s natural for transparency across the board to become more acceptable. And that includes traveling with weed.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some key things you should know before deciding whether or not to bring your cannabis aboard with you. Whether it’s federal laws or simply understanding the distinctions between CBD products, these tips are to make you aware of what you’re getting into, and how to maneuver.
What to Know About Flying with Marijuana
Before you board your flight, there are a few general things you should know about traveling with weed.
Can I fly with:
Flying out Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) with Medical Marijuana
As of January 1, 2018, California law allows people 21 years old or older to have up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated weed for individual utilization. With the adjustment of state law, the approach and methodology of the Los Angeles Airport Police Division (APD) in regards to weed were refreshed to mirror this change. APD officials, who are California Peace Officers, have no right to arrest people in the event that they are agreeing with state law.
Cannabis Paraphernalia like Bongs
Paraphernalia can contain any of these items:
Carrying the flower itself is fairly straightforward. You can simply place it in a medical container, or even in a concealed plastic bag. Pre-rolls especially, can be easy to carry as they can look like cigarettes or cigars, both of which are legal across the nation to travel with. Admittedly, they might be a little loud. Paraphernalia is where it gets tricky. TSA officially allows tobacco pipes in carry-on or checked baggage. These products, however, cannot contain any traces of illegal substances, or they will be considered drug paraphernalia. However, TSA agents are not trained to identify substances. With that, your best bet is to clean all resin or substances from your products before traveling. There can be no room for misinterpretation regarding their usage if you want to steer clear of trouble.
As of 2019, TSA officially allows products containing hemp-derived CBD, and FDA-approved medications containing CBD, in both carry-on and checked luggage. This is a huge win for the cannabis community as CBD-focused products are just as important to the progress towards legalization as recreational cannabis, if not more! Be sure to note that this pertains to hemp-derived CBD containing no more than 0.3% THC. Though TSA will likely not be testing THC levels on sight, it’s a good footnote to remember when purchasing products or when questioned by TSA.
Understand Federal Law
Although states are rapidly legalizing marijuana, the U.S. federal government still classifies marijuana (even medical) as a Schedule I controlled substance. Anyone transporting marijuana across state lines is committing a federal crime and can be charged with drug trafficking. This carries a minimum penalty of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the first offense. This is serious stuff, and it can definitely be intimidating, if not downright discouraging. It’s up to you to decide what risks to take. More importantly, how to go about your travels without being busted by the Feds.
Getting Through TSA
This is where TSA comes into play. There seems to be a stigma that TSA is out to hunt for potheads. In reality, this typically isn’t the case. According to the Transportation Security Administration, their main focus is to stop items that could potentially put flight safety at risk. Their mandate is more about identifying things such as explosive devices and weapons. Although TSA can seem intimidating, I can attest firsthand that they rarely, if ever give much attention to cannabis. I have personally had my bags pulled aside for random checks and watched the TSA pick up a pack of pre-rolls, toss them to the side of my bag, and continue the rest of the check. This is typically the norm with travelers leaving legal states, especially LAX. All in all, I’ve traveled out of LAX with marijuana over 10 times with no issue.
There are repercussions if you are caught with marijuana at the airport. Typically TSA is required to turn you over to the local law enforcement. Unfortunately, this means you’re now subject to state law regarding the drug. For instance, if you are caught openly consuming or handling marijuana at LAX, they will simply confiscate it. In most cases, they will let you go as the drug is legal recreationally. This is where understanding state law becomes crucial. Although we fully support getting your toke on across the nation, we do not recommend traveling from a non-legal state with cannabis. This makes you subject to local laws which may include a felony and/or jail time.