It’s the holidays and many are dreading awkward family visits. At this time of year, people often ask, “Can I fly with pot?” The answer is, it depends… All of the following information is based on outside sources and third party reports. It is offered at your own risk and does not constitute legal, practical, or personal advice.
Departing the Airport
TSA’s mandate is transportation security. They are not responsible for finding contraband. This falls to the police and Customs and Border Patrol. When you go through security screening for domestic flights at most airports you will only encounter TSA and the local Sheriff. If TSA finds any contraband they will hand you over to the Sheriff on site at the airport. In legal Adult-Use states, the police often seize your cannabis and let you proceed to your flight. However, it is most likely that TSA will not alert to your cannabis alone and the police won’t be called. At Oakland International Airport, the Alameda County Sheriffs stand watch. Cannabis is legal for adults 21+ and fortunately the Sheriff has higher priorities than finding your pot and keeping you off a plane. In fact, years ago the airport instituted a written policy allowing patients to bring up to 8 ounces of cannabis into the airport. LAX recently announced a similar policy and SFO has long had an unwritten policy not to seize personal use amounts. Other airports like Long Beach, Denver, and Las Vegas have gone the opposite direction and are working to keep all legal pot from leaving the state. Some airports even have amnesty boxes to drop your cannabis before going through security.
Arriving at Your Destination
If TSA or the police find your cannabis and allow you to continue you on your flight, they are not going to call ahead and alert your destination airport. But when you land, you will be subject to the laws of that state. You do not have much to worry about for flights within or to-and-from legal adult use states. However, if you are landing in a prohibition state be aware of the laws and penalties and make sure you are willing to accept the risk before breaking any laws. Some patients may have no other choice than to break the law to visit their family and friends for the holidays. According to experts, one vacuum seal blocks scents for 2 days and double vacuum seal blocks for 2 weeks. Vacuum seals can be unreliable so some suggest triple vacuum sealing if bringing cannabis is absolutely essential for medical survival.
International Flights are a NO NO!!!
DO NOT BRING ANY CANNABIS ON INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS INTO OR OUT OF THE UNITED STATES. All cannabis is illegal under federal law and there is no medical defense. Customs and Border Patrol are federal agents with expanded search and arrest powers. If you refuse a search, you can be denied entry into the United States. You can be arrested and prosecuted for drug trafficking. Noncitizens can be deported and denied entry into the US for life, even celebrities. Check your pockets, purse, suitcases, and bags for any forgotten cannabis. Do not risk it!