Many states throughout the country have legalized cannabis in some form. Some states have legalized it only for approved medical use. Others have legalized it for adult recreational usage as well. Others have done neither, and still consider its usage to be illegal in all forms.
These different rules in regard to cannabis usage can make traveling across state lines quite complicated and confusing if you want to travel with cannabis on you.
If you plan to fly with cannabis, it’s important that you understand the rules laid out by the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA sets the rules for what is and what is not allowed on all planes in the United States, and these rules must be followed by everyone who wishes to fly — regardless of what state they are coming from or going to.
Below is a detailed look at TSA guidelines for cannabis in 2022.
The Challenge with Conflicting Laws
The biggest challenge in understanding the rules regarding cannabis when you’re traveling is that there are three different set of laws at play:
- The laws of the state you’re flying from
- The laws of the state you’re flying to
- Federal laws
As mentioned before, different states have different rules for how they handle cannabis, in both medical and recreational form. What’s legal in one state may not be legal in another.
In Michigan, for example, both medical marijuana and adult recreational marijuana are legalis legal. By contrast, all forms of marijuana are illegal in Kansas. This means that if you are found to possess marijuana in Kansas, you could be held accountable to the state’s laws, even if you are a resident of Michigan and purchased it there legally.
In addition, marijuana is considered completely illegal from a federal standpoint. Federal law enforcement agencies are highly unlikely to intervene on individual state laws regarding marijuana, but they may when someone carries marijuana across state lines — in certain situations.
Can You Fly in the U.S. with Marijuana?
The quick answer to this question is a simple “no.” The more in-depth answer to this question is a more complicated “it depends.”
Let’s dive further into these two possible answers.
The Simple No
The simple “no” answer is because, as mentioned previously, marijuana in all forms is considered illegal by federal law. And since the TSA is a federal agency, federal law supersedes state law within an airport and on airplanes.
As such, the TSA does not officially allow marijuana to be taken into airports or on airplanes. If they find it, they will, in some cases, refer you to law enforcement agencies. Those agencies may or may not pursue official criminal charges, but you can bet that whatever marijuana you had with you will be confiscated.
The more complicated “it depends” answer is based around two factors. The first is the official policies of the TSA. As stated in their official guidelines regarding marijuana:
“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 …”
If you combine that statement with the description above, it means that the TSA won’t specifically be searching to see if people are carrying marijuana with them into airports … but if they happen to find it during a security search, they may report it to law enforcement agencies.
The second factor is what the specific cannabis product in question is. While marijuana and some products that are infused with cannabis are considered illegal by federal law, there are some exceptions to that.
According to the TSA, “products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by FDA” are allowed to be taken into airports and on airplanes. This provides some wiggle room for certain products to be taken past TSA legally.
What Products Fit into This Description?
While most medical marijuana — and certainly all recreational usage marijuana — wouldn’t fit into the TSA’s description of legal products, what would are most CBD products.
CBD is mainly derived from either hemp or marijuana. Almost all that are derived from hemp contain less than 0.3% THC. Even some that are derived from marijuana contain less than that amount, making them legal by TSA’s standards.
This means that CBD products in any form — whether it be oil, edibles or other products — would be allowed to be taken into an airport and on a plane as long as it contained less than 0.3% THC. An important thing to keep in mind, though, is that the onus will be on you to prove that the product you are carrying with you meets that criteria.
As such, it’s always advisable to bring your CBD product in its original packaging. Make sure the packaging clearly states what it is and what the ingredients are — especially the percentage of THC that it contains, if any at all.
In essence, these are the same rules you would want to follow if you had prescription medication that you wanted to fly with. It should be kept in its original packaging that has the original prescription written on it.
This proves what the prescription is, the fact that it’s legal, and the fact that you are the one who’s legally allowed to possess it. If you dump your prescription medication into a plastic bag, for instance, you leave it up to a TSA agent to trust what you say about the medication.
The same goes for CBD products. You don’t want to leave it up to chance whether you’ll be allowed to carry your CBD products with you through an airport and onto a plane.
While having your products confiscated may not be that big of a deal, having to deal with the potential hassle of legal questions likely would be.