Can you fly with weed Can you fly with weed

Can You Fly with Weed?

 

There are several reasons why traveling with cannabis could be beneficial. It’s a great way to rest and enjoy some time off or ease nervousness en route. Regardless of your reason, you may have noticed that the laws around cannabis travel are complex and want some straightforward answers. Can you bring weed on a plane? What happens when the TSA finds weed? 

We’ll cover this more in this article on flying with weed in the US. 

Can you fly with weed, is weed legal in the US

Flying High in the US

weed for recreational use vs Weed for medical patients, weed for medical purposes and chronic pain,

First, can you fly with weed in the US? 

The answer is ultimately dependent on your place of origin and destination. Under Federal Law, the US prohibits the interstate travel of cannabis products that test higher than 0.3% THC. 

Depending on the state regulations, some places will enforce these restrictions, while others are more lenient. 

Some states that are still fully illegal may have stricter protocols and could even include fines. In contrast, cannabis has been generally decriminalized in other states, where they are not concerned about your personal stash.

If a federal officer happens to see your weed vape, the worst that may happen is they will require you to dispose of it before passing through security. 

In 2023, Ohio became the 24th state in the US to legalize recreational marijuana and medical cannabis use fully. This makes 48% of the US generally safe to fly with your weed, so long as you are not going through a security checkpoint in a state with stricter laws. 

Beyond the specific laws about flying with weed, security and surveillance when it comes to cannabis have shifted. As cannabis becomes more common, many folks who have enjoyed cannabis while visiting or living in a legalized marijuana state will often have residual cannabis on their clothing.

This overcomplicates the use of security dogs, who are ultimately better suited to support core security efforts for protecting and keeping people safe from safety threats. Most of the dogs you see today in US airports are there to detect dangerous materials and contraband, not cannabis. 

Traveling with CBD vs. THC

There is more flexibility when it comes to traveling with hemp-based CBD products. This class of cannabis product is available and safe to travel with throughout many parts of the US as well as internationally. If a product contains no more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis, it is totally okay to bring it along when traveling within Europe and North America. 

Since TSA's focus is on federal laws, they can confiscate cannabis based on the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970. This law defines cannabis containing THC above 0.3% as a Schedule I substance. The Marijuana Policy Project (MMP) explains transporting cannabis through a security checkpoint could lead to criminal charges. 

Despite this risk, many people will continue to travel with cannabis within legal states that may have different policies and lax enforcement. It’s important to understand the difference between medical and recreational laws, as they often come with age restrictions and sometimes an official document for legal travel. 

Traveling with medical vs. recreational weed

medical vs recreational weed

Based on the TSA’s current regulations, individuals with a doctor’s recommendation may be permitted to carry their cannabis in both carry-on and checked luggage so long as the products meet other necessary TSA guidelines (liquids, batteries, flammables). 

TSA’s screening process focuses on security rather than CBD oil or weed products. Their job is to detect potential security threats to aviation and passengers; all protocols are designed to focus solely on that. 

If they happen to find cannabis while screening for other reasons, they may be inclined to refer the matter to another law enforcement's discretion. Still, they may often overlook it or ask you to dispose of it properly. 

In the end, weed is here to soothe and not cause harm. 

Weed travel by state

The laws around bringing weed onto a plane are complicated because not every US state follows the same policies. However, having a basic understanding of where it is safer to travel with cannabis and hemp can make your experience of getting to your vacation destination with your favorite flower less risky. 

New York has made it legal to possess less than three ounces of cannabis traveling through their airports. However, this law is not unanimous in other adult-use and fully legalized states. 

Places like the Denver International Airport in Colorado and the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas prohibit cannabis in passenger bags despite being fully legalized states. 

Other states like California allow individuals 21 years of age or older to hold up to 28.5 grams of cannabis or 8 grams of cannabis concentrate for personal consumption anywhere they go – this includes airports. 

Since changing this law in 2018, the Los Angeles International Airport Police Division (APD) has updated its protocols to reflect this change. Local law enforcement will not press charges for holding cannabis. However, TSA agents (still adhering to federal law) may still ask you to dispose of any cannabis they find during a routine search. 

Each state has its unique version of these regulations, but as a baseline here are the states considered to be relatively safe to travel. 

Fully Legal States (Recreational/Medical): 

  1. Alaska

  2. Arizona

  3. California

  4. Colorado

  5. Connecticut 

  6. Delaware

  7. DC

  8. Illinois

  9. Maine

  10. Maryland

  11. Massachusetts

  12. Michigan 

  13. Minnesota

  14. Missouri

  15. Montana

  16. Nevada

  17. New Jersey

  18. New Mexico

  19. New York

  20. Ohio

  21. Oregon

  22. Rhode Island

  23. Vermont

  24. Virginia 

  25. Washington

Current Fully Illegal States where travel with cannabis is ill-advised:

  1. Wyoming 

  2. North Carolina

  3. South Carolina 

  4. Nebraska

  5. Kansas

  6. Idaho 

Current laws vary from state to state. To better know how your home state, layover, or destination handles cannabis laws, check each state's current regulations. It’s important to remember that checked bags can be pulled for routine checks at layover locations. 

What happens if the TSA finds my weed?

Perhaps after understanding the risks, you’re still considering traveling with your cannabis – what happens when TSA sees your stash?

TSA claims to not put any active effort into searching for cannabis and instead focuses on screening potential threats, like weapons or explosives.

They are not technically law enforcement but safety officers. 

Therefore, they do not have the power to arrest a traveler. Only the local police can arrest someone at airport security. This typically only happens in cases where someone is suspected to be carrying an amount of weed that exceeds personal use and intent to sell illegally. 

It is unlikely that you will be arrested for holding cannabis in legal use states, so long as you are respecting all other standard protocols and directions from the security staff. 

Law enforcement may be involved primarily if your stash is more significant than that region's legally allowed limits (often 1 ounce). You may have to dispose of extra cannabis products in some cases if you wish to proceed through to the terminal. 

You can avoid triggering a TSA check during screening if you follow these steps:

  • Do not pack liquids over restricted limits.

  • Carry your cannabis in your carry-on only.

  • Opt for products like prerolls, capsules, vapes, gummies, or chocolates.

  • Do not bring a lighter or any flammable accessories.

  • Carry your weed with organic materials like cotton/wool socks or toiletries.

What Federal cannabis legalization means for traveling

The lifting of federal restrictions on cannabis would significantly change both the market and how we regulate use and access. Not only would this provide consumers safer access to quality cannabis products, but it would enable more opportunities for cannabis tourism. This kind of boost in the local economy could help small states with exceptional cannabis to offer. 

Interstate commerce would flourish alongside universal testing standards and other critical quality control protocols within the cannabis industry. 

Streamlining these processes would open doors to novel product development and medical marijuana research and offer consumers better and more diverse products. 

Until then, consumers must seek out adult use and medically legal states to partake in cannabis for fun or therapeutic use. 

Fly safe with your best buds and your best bud

Cannabis has such a multifaceted potential to aid in the jitters and aches that come along with airplane travel.

One day, we may see CBN or CBG calming products at the terminal kiosk or a CBD mocktail at the airport bar. 

For now, you must proceed with caution if you wish to fly with your weed safely. Practicing basic travel etiquette will help you avoid any issues. 

Similarly to how they handle someone boarding a plane barefoot, airlines promise to remove any passengers who are disorderly, abusive, violent, or appear intoxicated and disruptive. You can still fly high, but be respectful towards your fellow passengers and crew.

Now, fly safely and enjoy cannabis from around the world!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I fly with weed in my carry-on?

No, it is illegal to fly with marijuana in your carry-on or checked baggage under federal law.

Does TSA check for CBD?

TSA primarily focuses on security and safety threats. But if they come across substances that appear illegal or violate federal law during their screening process, they must report it to law enforcement.

Can I take CBD on a domestic flight?

Yes, you can take CBD on a domestic flight in the United States, provided it contains less than 0.3% THC and is derived from hemp. Always check the latest TSA guidelines and regulations before traveling.

Can you bring a weed pen on a plane 2024?

As of my last update in 2023, regulations regarding flying with a weed pen can vary by country and airline and may change by 2024. In the United States, the TSA is primarily concerned with safety and not specifically searching for drugs.

 


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