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Flying With Edibles? Do So At Your Own Risk With Cannabis In Airports

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It turns out that the phrase “flying high” is literal for some folks who are getting busted with cannabis in airports.

We don’t make a habit of getting government news from Instagram, but the TSA’s 2019 post had many (including us) scratching their heads. The post hinted at a new federal stance concerning cannabis in airports:

“…let us be blunt: TSA officers DO NOT search for marijuana or other illegal drugs. Our screening procedures are focused on security and detecting potential threats. But in the event a substance appears to be marijuana or a cannabis-infused product, we’re required by federal law to notify law enforcement. This includes items that are used for medicinal purposes.”

Since 2019, more states have shifted their cannabis in airports legislation and pursued legalization, which creates a problematic situation for border guards and TSA agents. Today’s article looks at some of the confusing legal approaches to cannabis and how it might affect your travel plans should you be traveling with cannabis to or from your legalized jurisdiction.

Past Policies On Cannabis In Airports

Current policies are murky—with the law saying one thing but officers consistently acting on different terms.

For instance, consider upstate New York. Transportation Security Administration personnel periodically bring deputies to the security checkpoint when they detect marijuana on a traveler or in their luggage. Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple, whose department guards the Albany airport in upstate New York, shares that no citations or arrests are issued if the amount of marijuana looks to be less than three ounces.

Previously, Apple said, his deputies and detectives had made dozens of arrests or given fines for unauthorized marijuana possession at the airport each year. Today? They’re sending people on their way so long as the traffic is domestic and no disturbances are created.

In California, the situation is similarly lax. While you are still liable for punishment under §11357 of the California Health and Safety Code, most report that a more likely scenario is simply confiscation. The elements that contribute to harsher penalties include the amount you’re carrying, the legal status of cannabis at your destination, and your age as it pertains to legal limits.

Don’t take this as permission, however. The law is still cut and dry, however, with federal law prohibiting cannabis from being transported via air in luggage. In fact, hiding your cannabis using secret compartments and makeshift airlocks may increase the scrutiny on your bag and lead to worse problems as you continue within the airport.

Will I Get Searched For Cannabis In Airports?

According to the TSA, no, you will not be searched for drugs or other paraphernalia. That being said, if you’ve ever forgotten a sharp object in your bag or chosen the wrong size of toothpaste tube for a weekend away, you know how sensitive the parameters for triggering a search can be.

Messaging from federal bodies is crucial—similar to how the VA ran into problems with communicating how cannabis usage does not restrict you from veterans benefits and eventually put out a dedicated PSA resource on the topic.

You will not be searched, but you should not carry it. In many instances, you will not be charged, but it is still a federal crime. Your possession will be brought up with local authorities, but the DEA will rarely be involved. What is the average consumer meant to do with their cannabis in airports?

Many choose edibles because they do not smell or leave a residue. They do not interfere with plane air circulation like vaping or smoking and are undetectable to passengers. Regardless of this low-key means of taking cannabis in airports, one should still avoid it if they want to stay on the right side of aviation law.

Carrying THC products on an aircraft is against federal law, which is unfortunate for folks who enjoy their edibles and want to experience an elevated flight. Airports are governed by federal jurisdiction rather than a state one, whether the plane is flying to, from, or between American states that have legalized edibles.

Beard Bros Pharms believes that edibles on flights should be a matter of personal concern before federal. So long as you are not trafficking illegal amounts or traveling to states without legalization, we will push for better policies that allow stress-free intake during the flying process.

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