Is It Safe To Travel With Marijuana?

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Traveling with Marijuana
Traveling with Marijuana

photo: TSA Blog

Although four states have now legalized the recreational use of marijuana and twenty or so have decriminalized and legalized medical cannabis, weed is still classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The federal government allows for the state to legalize or decriminalize marijuana for medical or recreational use if and only if the state has a regulatory system for it. However, cannabis use, possession, sale, cultivation, and transport still remains illegal under U.S. federal laws. This means that traveling with marijuana is prohibited by law and hence, is illegal and not safe.

What if I’m traveling with marijuana from one legal weed state to another?

Only Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington allow any adult 21 and up to buy small amounts of weed without prescription. These laws and regulations only have change in the state level and only cover the legality of use and sale within their borders and not at the federal level. If you’re traveling with marijuana especially when you’re flying, you have to remember that federal law govern certain parts of the airport and everything that happens inside an airplane.

By federal law, it is illegal to transport marijuana by air; this covers personal possession of marijuana by air travel, sending cannabis by air mail or through shipping services. This means that flying to or from Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington to consume marijuana or marijuana-related products is okay but you cannot bring weed in or take weed out of any of the states mentioned.

Traveling with Marijuana TSA

photo: TSA Blog

What you should know in order to make an informed travel decision:

  • Marijuana remains illegal at the federal/national level. When a state legalizes/decriminalizes marijuana use, production, distribution, and consumption, the individual state laws only apply within that state’s borders.

  • Only twenty states allow medical cannabis sale and use and only four states allow recreational marijuana sale and use.

  • Marijuana is banned in any federal property or areas under federal control. These areas may include agricultural checkpoints within internal state borders (California, Texas, etc.), secure areas of the airport and seaport, airplanes, ships and any other federally-owned land.

  • You can’t legally fly (or float) with weed. Under federal law, marijuana is banned on aircraft or seacraft, whether in a carry-on baggage, in checked-in luggage or in any package being mailed or shipped. Traveling with marijuana is not legal.

  • Medical cannabis is still cannabis. Under federal law, medical marijuana is no different than any other kind of marijuana.

  • Public consumption of marijuana is banned even in legal marijuana states. You cannot smoke or take marijuana in public.

Additional things to remember:

  • The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the United States agency responsible for implementing federal laws related to border security including those related to marijuana.

  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is not a law enforcement agency but is responsible for transportation security in the U.S. especially at the airports. The TSA screens passengers and baggage entering secure areas of terminals for prohibited items including marijuana. They can’t apprehend you, instead they will contact the local law enforcement agency.

Traveling with marijuana across different state lines is a felony even if it’s between two states that have legalized recreational marijuana. Remember that it’s wiser to consume your weed where you bought it instead of running the risk of criminal charges for traveling with marijuana or transporting it.

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