Is flying with cannabis legal? Marijuana legalization is on the rise. While federal legalization in the United States is looking extremely promising in 2022, the laws around cannabis are currently convoluted and often confusing.
For example, it’s legal to consume cannabis on public streets in New York City. But, it isn’t legal to do so in, say Denver, Colorado (or any other recreationally legal city in the U.S.) In some counties, it is legal to carry up to 2 ounces of weed. In others, less than an ounce is the legal limit.
The laws around carrying your cannabis on your flight are also confusing. Are you traveling between legal states? Was your medicinal cannabis provided by an approved medical supplier? Is it in your carry-on or checked luggage? Are you flying from Oakland or Anchorage?
Not all airports have declared their stance on bringing cannabis to their airport. Some have completely okayed it, while others still have amnesty boxes right at security allowing you to throw your cannabis into the box before going through TSA. Some allow CBD oil, others allow medical cannabis.
Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport has amnesty boxes set up for travelers. Maggie Huynh, public relations coordinator at the Chicago Police Department, told The Washington Post, “The boxes are where travelers can safely dispose of cannabis and cannabis products before travel.”
However, the TSA website states: “TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers. Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”
If a law enforcement officer is called, they must obey their local laws (remember, the local laws in 18 states say cannabis is recreationally legal.)
Vape pens are also another questionable item. It is legal to bring vape pens in your carry-on luggage. But, cannabis and non-cannabis vape pens look identical. With no clear lines drawn between the two, it is another gray area in the travel world.
Products with CBD under .03% THC are legal to transport. Any other FDA approved cannabis/hemp products are as well, according to TSA website. Things like hemp backpacks or clothing is fine.
Medical cannabis may be more acceptable, even when travelling overseas. There have been a few people who have successfully and legally carried their medical cannabis with them to places like New Zealand.
It is unclear as to whether it is legal to carry cannabis on your flight in legal states. So, should you travel with cannabis anyway? Maybe, maybe not. With all of the unknowns, it’s not guaranteed you will get to your destination unscathed, or at least, with your stash. But, it’s really dope to see the progression in the laws as cannabis becomes legal all over the world.