Lovers of cannabis may be familiar with hopping on a plane and casually bringing along a stash for when they land.
However, with WNBA star, Brittney Griner, recently being detained and jailed in Russia for carrying medical cannabis cartridges, it doesn’t hurt to revisit the legality of flying with cannabis and to review the laws.
What TSA is Looking For
In 2001 the TSA was formed in the United States after September 11 and is committed to keeping our skyways safe. This means that the TSA is mainly looking through luggage for weapons.
But while they search for weapons, they might also come across your stash.
TSA has gone on the record saying that they, “do not search for [cannabis] or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”
However, while the TSA is not explicitly looking to bust people for cannabis, they are a federal organization and will get the local police involved in the event that they find something.
It’s impossible to predict how the police will act, so the best thing to do is just not to bring your cannabis unless it’s CBD, and within the United States.
State to State
Depending on the state that you are trying to catch a flight in, law enforcement officers may be relatively chill and just make you confiscate your cannabis.
That, or they may write you a ticket, give you a court date, or arrest you (depending on how much cannabis you have).
Illinois is among the first states to set up cannabis amnesty boxes. These boxes are for travelers who are about to go through security and then realize that they accidentally have THC-rich cannabis in their bag. Not many people use the boxes… but they exist.
Cannabis may be legal for recreational use in 18 states (and medical use in 38 states) but it still remains illegal on a federal level.
What if you are flying from one state where cannabis is legal to another state where cannabis is also legal?
Well, the air space that you must travel through falls under federal jurisdiction. Unless you are carrying CBD, which is non-psychoactive and has less than .03% THC, you are breaking the law.
Are the Laws the Same for Medical Patients?
If you have a medical card and are caught carrying cannabis from a state where cannabis is legal to a state where cannabis is illegal, your medical card won’t do you any favors.
It is also worth reiterating that even if you are traveling from a state where cannabis is legal, to another state where cannabis is also legal, the airspace between the two states is governed by federal policy, which dictates that cannabis is illegal.
However, due to the Farm Bill of 2018, hemp is perfectly legal in all 50 states.
Products with CBD as the main ingredient that contains less than .3% THC are good to go.
But I’ve Flown With Cannabis Before
Whether you have accidentally flown with cannabis or did it purposely by picking a good hiding spot among your belongings, it may have been possible to fly with cannabis in the past.
But, bringing the focus back to Brittney Griner, other countries are not so lax. Russia recently sentenced Brittney to 9 years in a penal colony for accidentally bringing her doctor-approved vaping cartridges in her luggage upon entering the country for a basketball tournament.
Be sure to examine local cannabis laws for international travel. Many countries do an additional security check once you arrive at foreign airports before you are able to physically enter the country and begin your trip.
Places like Japan have extremely strict laws regarding cannabis. If you are caught with cannabis that has any amount of THC, you will not only be arrested and jailed but you will never be allowed back in the country again. Yikes.
The TSA in the United States is not looking to apprehend anyone, but the issue goes beyond TSA and gets dealt with by local police. If you have flown with cannabis without repercussion, you are lucky to not have been caught.
If you are confused about which CBD products are allowed onboard (only if you are flying within the United States), feel free to ask one of our JARS representatives which federally legal products they recommend.
Flying with cannabis is illegal. Don’t do it.