There is no doubt that marijuana is becoming more and more legally and socially acceptable. Cannabis is fully legal in 23 states. Moreover, it is either decriminalized or approved for medicinal use in many more states. Marijuana laws frequently change making it important to stay updated on what is legal and decriminalized in your state. And if traveling, you will want to learn the legality of cannabis in other states. This begs the question: Can I fly with weed on a plane? The short answer is no.
Federal Cannabis Law
According to federal law, both the possession and sale of marijuana are illegal. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies cannabis as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs are considered “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” And because air travel falls under federal law, it is technically illegal to fly with weed.
Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Screening and Cannabis
Cannabis is illegal under federal law. Therefore, should a TSA security officer discover cannabis during a security screening, they will report the concern to a law enforcement officer. In fact, TSA security officers are required to report the matter to local, state, or federal authorities. Still, it is important to note that TSA is not searching for cannabis or other illegal substances during screenings. TSA’s primary focus is on detecting potential security threats.
Traveling With Medical Marijuana
Cannabis infused products are illegal under federal law. However, there is an exception for medical marijuana products “that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by FDA.” These items containing minimal quantities of cannabis may be carried on the plane or in checked luggage. With TSA not actively searching for cannabis, it seems unlikely that they would ask for a medical marijuana card. However, it remains within TSA’s authority to report offenders.
Traveling Between States Where Cannabis is Legal
Even when flying between states where cannabis is legal, it is remains illegal to travel with cannabis. Interstate travel is regulated by the federal government. Therefore, federal law reigns supreme. Check local cannabis laws when traveling to ensure you follow the law. With more and more states legalizing cannabis, it is easy to find a destination where you can chill with your cannabis making it unnecessary to risk traveling with cannabis on a plane.
Never bring cannabis on an international flight. International cannabis laws vary. Punishments may be severe for travelers entering a foreign country with cannabis. The best practice is to avoid bringing cannabis on an international flight.
When in doubt, act conservatively when it comes to traveling with cannabis. While TSA officers do not search for cannabis, TSA security officers are required to report persons who travel with illegal cannabis to local law enforcement.