Millions of people are expected to fly each day during the holidays. It wouldn’t be farfetched to think some passengers are flying high in more ways than one. After all, medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and Washington, D.C. But is it legal to fly with weed?
Melissa Etheridge stows her medical marijuana in her checked luggage along with her doctor’s recommendation. Our cousin Larry simply packs his buds in a airtight container in his carry-on. With a slew of edible cannabis products available, marijuana has never looked more inconspicuous.
However, the bottom line is air travel is subject to federal laws, and the federal government considers marijuana a Class 1 drug (i.e., illegal). Here are four things you should know before flying with weed in your carry-on or checked luggage:
The Federal Government Considers Marijuana a Class 1 Drug
The federal government still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, placing it on par with heroin, LSD, and cocaine. So if the federal government finds your stash, you could be facing jail time for possession.
Air Travel Is Subject to Federal Laws
While you may be tempted to chance it if flying within a state that allows medical or recreational marijuana or between two-medical marijuana friendly states, the law won’t be on your side if you are discovered flying with weed. Even a medical marijuana approval letter from a doctor won’t cut it, and you might be asked to throw away your cannabis, fined, or arrested.
TSA Agents Are Not Specifically Looking for Drugs
Agents at the TSA checkpoints are primarily looking for guns, explosives, and other potential security threats — not drugs. TSA has even publicly stated agents are not looking for marijuana. But if they have cause to search you and find cannabis, they may turn you over to the local airport law enforcement.
Don’t Fly With Weed Internationally
There’s really no way around this legally, and the consequences can include jail time or worse depending on where you are flying. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers, unlike TSA agents, are looking for illegal substances and will enforce federal laws.
Over 2.7 million people are expected to fly each day during the busiest times of the holiday period.