The USA marijuana legalization laws have always been confusing. This confusion is visible at different levels of socio-economic practices, including air travel. While federal law strictly prevents the possession of marijuana on flights, many states have implemented policies that make carrying marijuana easier for air travelers.
It’s worth remembering that though police don’t have any specific policies enforced around passengers who fly with weed, it never guarantees that you won’t face any trouble. This post shows you a clearer picture to save you from such unpredictable troubles.
It helps you learn what’s truly legal, what’s 100% illegal, and what’s near-to-legal about flying with weed. You can now easily buy CBD oils, CBD gummies, and other various CBD products at your local store and online.
Flying With Pot – Legit or Illegal?
A straightforward answer is flying with pot is not legal. The reason is that marijuana is an illegal substance under federal law, and it’s the federal law that regulates air travel in the country. The air space is a federal territory, which is why you can’t take marijuana legally on flights. This applies to flights that take you within or between states – even the departure and arrival destinations allow recreational marijuana. So if you want to know and respect the law, it’s better to avoid carrying recreational marijuana on flights.
What If You Get Caught With Marijuana In Your luggage?
Since TSA’s primary concern is finding out potential threats to aviation and ensuring passenger safety, TSA security officers won’t hunt your luggage just to find cannabis or other illegal drugs. It’s not focused on finding and detecting marijuana only. Being a federal agency, TSA officers always enforce federal law. Due to this reason, they will conduct a formal bag check, and in case they find that you are carrying marijuana, they may report it to the police. After that, it’s all about the local law enforcement officials and their decisions. As the legislation changes frequently and states pass new laws almost every day, the fortune of a marijuana carrier is pretty unpredictable. Even if it’s legal in the state you are flying from or the place you are flying in, it can still become a matter of experiment. Nobody could tell what rules could be applied or exactly what would happen. Even TSA’s potential action is not very much clear.
In case you have been caught for marijuana possession in any of the airports in California, they will probably waive your fines because California law has legalized any form of marijuana. You will probably have to drop your stuff in the amnesty boxes before you continue your journey. Unless you carry illegal and huge amounts of weed with you, they won’t probably notify the police department.
However, it’s worth remembering that these all are mere possibilities. In prohibited states like Idaho and Texas, attempting to carry marijuana on airplanes can put you in real trouble. The moral of the story is that it’s only the law enforcement who can decide whether to bust you or not, and somehow, the entire thing is downright arbitrary.
Can TSA Detect Weed in Your Check-in Luggage?
Well, it may sound intimidating, but you can still carry your buds with you but don’t think of putting them in your checked luggage. TSA tends to conduct random searches on checked bags. On the other hand, your carry-on bags typically go unsearched after the typical security checkpoint ritual. Again, TSA is not running after you to catch your weed. They are looking for items that can harm the airplane and the passengers. The acts that deviate the slightest from the truth are always deceptive. Therefore, skewing closer to inplane sight is much better than in a jar of peanut butter when it comes to saving your jar from a TSA agent.
TSA scanners see weed as a kind of a nondescript blur. You don’t need to put internal bodily storage on the table. So, if you can smartly pack a few joints in a cigarette pack and put it at the bottom of your carry-on, they will hardly get detected. However, the outcome is unknown if you are flying from or flying in a state that takes marijuana as a criminal offense and you get caught with your weed-filled joints. For states that have legalized marijuana, getting caught with weed in airports may not be that terrible. The cops may make you throw your stuff out while making fishy jokes. If your luck doesn’t favor you, you may experience a few legal hassles. Therefore, the safest idea is not to carry stuff on an air journey.
Can Medical Marijuana Card Help?
Well, the law sees the use of medical marijuana differently. Typically, if you carry your state medical card that evidences your unwellness, TSA and the local law enforcement officer can treat you pretty leniently.
However, a medical marijuana card won’t help much. Technically, the rules for medical marijuana are the same as that for recreational cannabis. Therefore, it’s not legal to bring medical marijuana on a flight.
Even the TSA is confused about what to do with those packs of medical marijuana. Three years back, i.e., in 2019, the regional spokesperson of TSA, Mark Howell, said to the New York Times that when a TSA officer stops a patient who consumes marijuana for therapeutic benefits, they should present their medical marijuana card. Usually, law enforcement officials will give it back to the carrier.
Now, what does that ‘usually’ justify? Well, let the TSA find out the answer first – till then, you may carry your medical stuff at your own risk and wait to see what your luck has in-store.
Can You Fly With CBD?
Since CBD has become a common remedy for travel anxiety, many nervous flyers prefer to keep CBD handy to overcome the fear of flight phobia. However, is it legal to carry CBD on a flight? Well, hemp-derived CBD containing less than 0.3% THC is considered legit, and you can carry them on an airplane. However, TSA rules also apply to CBD, saying that you can carry CBD-infused liquid (tinctures, oils, creams, gels) only if they are less than three ounces. You can also carry a CBD vape pen in your carry-on but not in your check-in baggage. The best idea is to research well about the destination you are traveling to and get to know if it allows CBD. Ensure you thoroughly understand the products you are carrying to guarantee that they contain less than 0.3% THC.
What About Marijuana Edibles?
If Marijuana is not permitted, naturally, marijuana-infused edibles are also prohibited on flights. However, if you are keenly interested in adventure, you can go back to that old-school treat. Simply pack your gummies into an empty bag of gummy bears and seal the package. This will work like a perfect eye wash; however, remember you are not tricking your high school teacher – they are TSA officials, and they know tricking better than you. Still, chances are high that you will not get caught unless your bag contains other non-compliant things like – guess what? Bombs, and then liquids. Don’t attract security by putting these things in your bag and give your gummy luck a try.
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Can You Carry Vape Cartridges?
Let’s face it – the days are gone when the authorities used to confuse vape cartridges with USB drives. Thus, if you are carrying them in your checked baggage, they will surely be thrown away. However, if you take less than three ounces of vape cartridges, you can store them in your check-in baggage and try flying with them. In case you are caught, be prepared to dispose of the stuff.
Flying With Weed – A Few Fact Updates
Las Vegas and Chicago Airports Has Fixed Amnesty Boxes
Different airports in Chicago and Las Vegas have set up amnesty boxes at the entrance and end of the security checkpoint. This indicates that these airports strictly discourage passengers from carrying marijuana on aircraft. In fact, this is humble cooperation from the authority that aims to help passengers travel without the fear of legal retribution. However, critics say the boxes are rarely used, non-durable, and pretty expensive. According to statistics, in Chicago, passengers hs left less than three dozen samples in the boxes in the last two years. What’s more? A passenger stole stuff from an amnesty box in Chicago just a few weeks after its installation in 2020.
Messing With Border Patrol May Cost Your Heavily
While traveling domestically, cannabis is still manageable; crossing the border with marijuana may be an entirely different beast, and you shouldn’t risk it. Even if you are flying to a land that has legalized marijuana, like Canada, you are still under the border control jurisdiction. Those agents are not as compassionate and understanding as TSA officers. They can arrest you for traveling with concentrated marijuana or other marijuana-infused products. Moreover, many countries maintain more rigid marijuana laws than the United States. Therefore, unless you are keenly excited to taste the food of a foreign land’s jail, don’t attempt cross-border travel with marijuana.
Oregon Works With a High Bar for Leniency
Oregon has always led the convoy to relax the marijuana laws on flights. When flying from Portland to any other airport within Oregon, you can take a chance to get your green in the aircraft. CNN says that when TSA stops you with your marijuana in Portland, they will hand you over to the local police, and the police will allow you to board the flight. Apart from Oregon, a few other states are gradually loosening their cannabis laws.
Checklist for Flying with Medical Marijuana
When it comes to carrying medical marijuana, there are a few things that you need to be careful about.
- Keep your doctor certificate or recommendation letter handy. If you are dependent on medical marijuana for easing post-chemotherapy symptoms and a few other severe conditions, you may get permission to fly with the recommended marijuana products.
- Make sure that you have kept your medical marijuana id card with you. In some scenarios, it may help.
- Keep your doctor’s number handy as it may be required for verification. Ensure that your card hasn’t expired or will expire within 30 days.
- Don’t forget to make a copy of your medical marijuana id card so that you have something in your hand if you lose the original one.
- Keep your lawyer’s number on speed dial. In case any complication arises, it will help.
Keep in mind that traveling with marijuana is complicated. It doesn’t matter if it is medical or recreational; you should always stay up to date with the state and federal laws to avoid unwanted hassles.
Major Airports in the Adult-Use States
Different airports have different approaches when it comes to carrying cannabis. Here’s how the major airports in the US stand on weed!
When a traveler carries less than one ounce of weed, they won’t have to dispose of their stuff at San Fransico airport. According to the San Francisco Public Information Officer, Doug Yakel, the airport hasn’t specified any rules on carrying stuff. However, anything beyond the state permitted limit may call for a law enforcement issue. The passenger, however, should head to a location that has legalized marijuana.
In Washington, TSA won’t snatch your stuff away when you arrive in the state. However, they may confiscate when you are leaving the state with cannabis.
New York airport police have officially announced that they won’t snatch away marijuana from their passengers. However, the stuff shouldn’t exceed the state possession limit (3 ounces).
Los Angeles law has legalized marijuana, and Los Angeles police have declared they won’t arrest passengers for carrying marijuana. However, the amount shouldn’t exceed an ounce (the maximum possession limit according to the state laws). According to Los Angeles Times, in 2019, the marijuana trafficking arrests in Los Angeles saw a rise of 166%. These arrests consider smuggling only those cases which involved the possession of marijuana more than the limit of federal jurisdiction. These travelers were caught trying to fly with a larger amount of weed, and most were heading towards Atlanta, Dallas, and Chicago.
In Seattle, the Tacoma airport permits passengers to carry marijuana in small amounts (according to the state’s legal limit). This applies for both departure and arrival.
Las vegas don’t allow marijuana on the airport property. Neither does it allow cannabis advertisers in the airport space. However, incidental weed ads like those on taxi cabs don’t come under the liability of the airport authority. According to the marijuana clause, passengers carrying marijuana through Las Vegas airport may have to pay the penalty. These penalties include but are not limited to criminal fines, arrests, prosecutions, or a blend of all.
Massachusetts has recently minted its recreational market laws. According to Massachusetts state laws, if you have crossed 21 years, you can legally possess one ounce of marijuana. However, when transporting cannabis, only commercial license holders can do the job. Boston Logan international airport is one of the major airports that serves New England, and it has no particular marijuana policies mentioned on its website. In fact, in 2019, the airport representatives warned the local news outlets that they would bust on those travelers attempting to bring cannabis via air. Suppose TSA finds weed with a traveler at the Boston airport and informs the Massachusetts police. In that case, they may take law enforcement action, which includes seizing the marijuana products and levying a fine.
Denver International Airport is pretty rigid with the possession of marijuana. However, the airport allows you to carry hemp products that contain less than 0.3% THC on planes.
Flying After Consuming Weed – Things to Know
If your adventurous instinct pushes you a lot, you can smoke a round of joints or chew a few THC gummies before boarding your plane. However, the idea may not be that enjoyable. Federal laws never prohibit passengers from flying if they are under drug influence. But, a few airlines do. They have the right to stop you from boarding the aircraft if they find that you are intoxicated. They do so because you may act whimsically after consuming weed due to its psychoactive effects. You may lose the ability to act appropriately in emergencies. Furthermore, your behavior may disturb crew members and your co-passengers. Considering this, it would help if you prevent yourself from consuming weed before boarding your flight.
Where is Weed Legal?
So now you have an idea about where and how you can travel with weed. However, you may have stuck to a question – so in which states are weed legal? Here’s the scoop on the legalization of marijuana across the United States. Legalized: Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Washington, Nevada, Illinois, Alaska, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, Oregon, and South Dakota. Medicinal: Arkansas, Kentucky, Montana, Oklahoma, Lova, Indiana, Utah, West Virginia, Arizona, Florida, Texas, West Virginia, Georgia, and Virginia. Decriminlazied and Medical: New York, North Dacota, Maryland, Hawaii, Connecticut, Missouri, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Delaware, Ohio. Decriminalized: North Carolina, Nebraska, and Mississippi. Illegal: South Dacota, Idaho, Kansas, Alabama, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Tennessee, Wyoming. You can read this guide to buying weed online legally without any hassle.
Weed Experience FAQs
Can you pack medical marijuana in checked baggage?
Federal laws still don’t approve medical marijuana. Therefore, you shouldn’t carry it in your checked baggage. You can pack the stuff carefully in your carry-on. For example, you can pack and hide them in cases or boxes so that they are not easily visible. Besides, keep them at the bottom of your bag. TSA won’t search you for drugs. Hence, you don’t need to worry much.
What can be the best way to travel with weed?
When traveling with weed, the best way out is to stick to the laws. Ensure you are following the law of the state that you are visiting. Don’t exceed the set cannabis possession limit to avoid penalties and legal hassles. In case you are traveling with medical marijuana, keep the doctor’s recommendation letter handy. Even the medical cannabis card may help to some extent.
Can airport security detect weed?
Typically, airport scanners can detect weeds, and security workers in airports across the globe can spot weeds easily as they have the training to identify drugs. If they find weed with you, they will confiscate the stuff, and if you carry a lot of stuff, they can report it to the local authority. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t carry weed at all. It’s all about being a little tricky.
What’s the minimum amount of weed that airport scanners can detect?
Typically, airport scanners can’t detect weeds if it’s less than 5mg. Anything more than that is easily detectable. Besides, carrying more than 1 mg of weed is also illegal in states. Thus, be careful and carry only the amount you need.
What is the best way to hide weed from airport scanners?
Though it’s not pretty much recommended if you are desperate about taking your greens with you, there are two tricks to cheat the scanners. You can hide a little amount of weed in your body cavities, or you can carry edibles. Typically, airport scanners fail to detect trace amounts of marijuana. Thus, be careful with the amount. If you make authorities feel that you have no other intention than smuggling, no one can save you. You can end up paying unbelievable penalties, including huge fines and prison time.
What does weed look like on the airport scanner?
Though airport scanners can’t detect weed outright, they can show the content of your baggage to the TSA agent. In scanners, weed looks like an orange component because orange represents the color of any biological material. Now, biological substances point to a wide range of things. It’s up to the TSA agents whether they will go for a detailed check or not.
Can you bring marijuana to the airport?
Probably, you can if you are in those jurisdictions that have legalized weed possession. It also depends on what you actually want to do after reaching the airport. If your flight is scheduled, you must pass security screening, and security personnel doesn’t allow marijuana on flights. However, if you are flying from a less restrictive state with cannabis possession, you may carry weed to the nonsecure areas of the airport.
Can you ship or mail marijuana before boarding the plane?
As per federal laws, sending marijuana through shipping services like FedEx and UPS is rigidly restricted. So, you can’t mail or ship your pot before boarding the flight.
Is smoking marijuana allowed in the designated smoking area of the airport?
The smoking areas of the airport are for smoking only tobacco products. Even if you live in a state that allows recreational marijuana, you can’t smoke weed publicly. The airport smoking zone is a defined public area. Hence, you can’t smoke anything except tobacco products there.
Can non-USA citizens travel to the country to consume marijuana?
It depends! However, while applying for a visa, if you state that consuming marijuana is the sole purpose of the visit, chances are pretty high that the authority will reject your application. Now, if you have genuine reasons to visit the country, like traveling, work, job, etc., you will probably get a visa easily. After entering the USA, you can purchase and consume marijuana if you stay in any of the states that consider the substance legal. CBD brands have taken over the market since their legalization.
Conclusion: How Much Weed Can You Fly With?
Neither smoking weed nor carrying the stuff along with you is a moral crime till your approach is sensible. Even though federal laws don’t allow it, you can still attempt carrying weed in flight. However, a responsible citizen should always respect and abide by the laws. Therefore, when it comes to traveling with cannabis, you should better avoid packing greens and take them along with you. If you are consuming cannabis for medicinal purposes, talk to the respective authorities and carry your stuff only if they permit.