You’re flying from a state the place marijuana is authorized to a state the place marijuana is authorized. You suppose which means you’re within the clear, however you’d be fallacious. Irrespective of your departure and arrival locations, it’s nonetheless unlawful to fly with marijuana.
That’s as a result of marijuana possession nonetheless stays unlawful underneath federal legislation, and if you fly, federal companies are in cost.
The Transportation Safety Administration is in command of safety whereas the Federal Aviation Administration controls the airways. Then, if you happen to’re getting into the nation from overseas, there’s Customs and Border Safety.
They implement federal legal guidelines, and “on the federal stage it stays prison to own any quantity of hashish even for medical functions,” says Brett Schuman, a companion at Goodwin legislation agency and co-chair of its hashish observe. (There’s a caveat: Hashish is authorized if it comprises not more than 0.3 % THC on a dry weight foundation.)
So it’s unlawful to carry marijuana — from joints to edibles — via airport safety, fly with it or undergo customs and immigration with it in your checked or carry-on bag, even if you’re flying between two locations the place it’s authorized.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t imply you’re going to federal jail if TSA finds weed in your bag.
“TSA has been clear that its focus is on safety for us, the passengers, and never medicine,” says Shawn Hauser, a companion on the nationwide hashish legislation agency Vicente Sederberg LLP and co-chair of the agency’s hemp and cannabinoids division.
I’ve spoken to TSA a number of instances on the subject, and their coverage is simple: “TSA is just not looking for marijuana or different medicine,” TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein mentioned in an e mail. “And consider, the TSA canines are skilled to detect explosive odors, not medicine.”
If TSA officers discover marijuana or different medicine throughout a routine screening course of, they’re presupposed to notify native legislation enforcement, who makes the ultimate name.
That closing name can differ. For those who’re in a state the place marijuana is authorized, native legislation enforcement isn’t possible to reply to airport calls in the event that they discover it. And in the event that they do, Hauser says they wouldn’t arrest somebody who’s in compliance with state legislation (for instance, authorities at LAX can’t arrest you for having some hashish if it’s inside the authorized quantity California permits.)
Throughout routine screening, @TSA officers at @JFKairport got here throughout a checked bag stuffed with 30 luggage of marijuana final week, every weighing about 3 lbs. TSA is not in search of medicine, however when TSA comes throughout them, police are notified. Port Authority Police arrested the traveler. pic.twitter.com/DygHhycLHx
— Lisa Farbstein, TSA Spokesperson (@TSA_Northeast) November 28, 2022
TSA might solely confiscate marijuana, inform you to throw it away or “they might ask you to place it in an amnesty field and even take it to your automotive,” Hauser says. Some airports prohibit marijuana possession on their property and may advantageous passengers caught breaking their rule.
Then once more, “this isn’t written down anyplace, however particular person TSA officers might train discretion to not report you in any respect,” Schuman says.
You possibly can run into extra important penalties if you happen to’re carrying bigger quantities of weed or touring via a state that continues to be staunchly anti-cannabis like Idaho, Nebraska or Texas, Schuman says.
In anti-pot states, it’s usually different authorities — not TSA — that discover marijuana and cost vacationers.
CBP has been identified to discover marijuana in passenger’s baggage, generally with the assistance of drug detecting Okay-9s, which may end up in fines, prison prices or shedding your World Entry membership.
There are additionally excessive instances of authorities discovering vacationers carrying giant quantities of weed. In Arkansas, detectives and their drug-detecting canine discovered 180 kilos of marijuana in a lawyer’s baggage on the Little Rock airport final yr.
That very same month in Tennessee — a state that’s “adamantly in opposition to” hashish — a drug canine employed by the Drug Enforcement Administration and native detectives discovered 12 luggage of marijuana in baggage on the Memphis airport, resulting in the detainment of the bag’s proprietor, a search warrant for his home, and, later, prison prices, FOX13 Memphis reported. In December, two Spirit Airways vacationers in Nashville had been booked into the Metro jail and charged with felony drug possession after a Okay-9 unit discovered 18 kilos of marijuana of their baggage on the airport.
It’s “fairly uncommon” to see on a regular basis vacationers face authorized penalties for small quantities, Hauser says, regardless of having a consumer detained at an airport in a state the place weed is against the law, who then went via “a easy court docket continuing that was shortly resolved.”
Schuman concurs. He’s not conscious of the “common Jane or common Joe touring via an airport with a pre-roll or bundle of gummies” who has spent any time in jail.
However although TSA isn’t in search of your pot, “the highest line reply must be: This stays federally unlawful,” Schuman mentioned,
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