Is It Legal to Travel With Marijuana?

Date Published 6/18/21, 4:45 PM

Now that marijuana is going mainstream, people are beginning to ask the question of whether they can travel with the green stuff.  At this moment in time, nearly 40 states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.  Another 17 states have fully legalized the recreational use of marijuana.  This means it is becoming easier to travel with marijuana.  However, doing so might not be wise.  Here’s why. 

Traveling With Marijuana 

If you were attempt to travel across state lines with marijuana, you would run the risk of breaking the law.  States have different cannabis laws, meaning traveling with the plant might be perfectly legal in a certain state and illegal one state over.  Cannabis products that have less than 0.3% THC have been recognized by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 as legal.  In other words, it is legal to travel with CBD on an airplane, by vehicle or on your person by foot.  In fact, the TSA has gone as far as updating its policy to state CBD medical products and those derived of hemp can be transported in checked and carry-on bags.  

However, flying with marijuana is a different story.  Some states have not yet legalized the use of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.  Marijuana purchased in states where it is legal is not permitted past post-security spaces within airports.  This means it is not the wisest decision to attempt to fly with marijuana.  However, even if the TSA were to find marijuana in your luggage or on your person, there is no guarantee they would take punitive action or even acknowledge the plant’s presence. 

Is the TSA on the Lookout for Marijuana? 

In short, no.  The TSA’s stance on the plant is not clear, meaning there is some space for interpretation.  TSA security officers will not actively search passengers or their belongings for marijuana.  However, if marijuana is found, TSA can reach out to law enforcement so the situation can be handled.  In other words, the TSA is not actively looking for the plant and there is no guarantee there will be consequences even if it is found. 

Is an Arrest Potentially Possible After Marijuana is Found at an Airport? 

The decision to arrest a traveler for possessing marijuana hinges on the amount of the plant being transported and the specific airport.  As an example, if the traveler has less than 28.5 grams of the plant, the law enforcers at the Los Angeles International Airport will not make an arrest.  Furthermore, liberal Seattle permits passengers to have upwards of the state’s marijuana legal limit when traveling.  It is interesting to note some airports have not officially taken a stance on the transportation of marijuana. 

Your Marijuana can be Confiscated 

If you decide to travel with marijuana, be it medical marijuana or recreational marijuana, you should know it can be confiscated.  However, the legal repercussions are not crystal clear.  Unless you are traveling through an airport that has stated it permits marijuana possession up to a specific weight, the chances are the airport officials who find your marijuana will confiscate it.  If you have a medical marijuana card, be sure to carry it in your wallet or purse to help reinforce your decision for traveling with marijuana in the event you are questioned. 


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