Lifestyle, Travel

What You Need to Know About Flying With Cannabis

May 6, 2021 10:25 am ET
What You Need to Know About Flying With Cannabis

While the travel industry has taken a knock due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many are still wondering whether one can fly with cannabis- especially those who rely on its medicinal properties, for example, to keep seizures at bay. All around the globe, countries have taken to establish and pass their own laws and legislations concerning cannabis, but is there anything to account for flying with cannabis, especially when forming part of the individual’s treatment plan and health care. 

Flying Within America

Old ways and rules are changing in light of the increasing legalization and decriminalization of cannabis. Some countries are now making allowances for passengers to fly with cannabis and it is important that the people know what this entails. In terms of flying with cannabis within America, it is prohibited to fly with cannabis since it is “illegal under federal law, and federal law governs airplane travel in this country” according to Larry Mishkin, a lawyer featured in The Washington Post. Mishkin also explains that when one leaves the state with cannabis, “you’ve broken the law of the state that you purchased it in, you’ve broken the law of the state that you’re going into and you’ve broken federal law”. 

The Washington Post explains that if you are flying to a location and come to realize that you have cannabis in your possession, individuals can “deposit it in the amnesty boxes if there are any present, or you can throw it in the trash”. They go on to explain that Americans can bring CBD products on to a flight if the product contains “no more than 0.3% THC- which has been approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), agents of the FDA, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has stated that it does not actively seek out cannabis as they are more concerned with locating threats to aviation such as weapons, bombs, and dangerous liquids. However, if the TSA were to discover the cannabis, they would treat the situation as they would with any other illicit substance and the repercussions will vary depending on the state. TSA spokesperson, Lorie Dankers, explained to media sources that in states where cannabis is legal, and a passenger is found in the possession of legal quantities, they will either be sent on their way or receive a fine. However, in states where cannabis is illegal, the passengers can risk facing misdemeanor or felony drug charges. 

Air Safe established some key points to know and understand about flying with cannabis and includes the following:

  • Secure areas of the airport are under federal control, even those beyond the TSA screen points. 
  • The federal government does not allow any cannabis on any airlines regardless of whether being in carry-on bags, checked luggage, or cargo. 
  • Cannabis purchased for recreational use or as part of a treatment plan for medicinal purposes, the substance follows the same protocol. 
  • The federal laws apply to every part of America, regardless of whether certain states allow for cannabis possession, purchase, and consumption.

What Are Amnesty Boxes?

Cannabis amnesty boxes are located at select airports around America where flyers can dispose of their cannabis and have no questions asked. These boxes are permanent, painted green, and bolted to the floor. Illinois, O’Hare, Midway airports in Chicago, and McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, for example, have multiple amnesty boxes so that travelers can fly legally, due to the federally illegal status of the substance. While amnesty boxes allow cannabis consumers to dispose of their cannabis safely, it has no effect on whether one can travel with cannabis.

Flying In Other Countries

There seems to be a lot of grey areas concerning traveling with cannabis within and to other countries- which is why it is better to avoid traveling with cannabis as most countries prohibit crossing borders with cannabis. In countries where cannabis has been fully legalized, such as Canada and Argentina, travelers can access and travel with cannabis within these countries but there are still tight restrictions on crossing borders with cannabis in your possession. 

If you are a person that relies on the medical benefits associated with cannabis, planning will be key to your trip. It is important to plan by educating yourself on your destination’s cannabis laws and regulations. You can also look up dispensaries (if applicable) beforehand and organize that they supply you with the necessary medical cannabis to keep up your health. By reaching out to dispensaries in your destination, you can ensure to have the appropriate paperwork and documents necessary to secure your cannabis supply. By doing this, you also minimize the risks being taken when taking cannabis with you on your flight. 

There are many tips and tricks one could employ to escape detection of small quantities of cannabis, it remains advisable to avoid flying with cannabis, even in the form of vape pens, which the TSA allows to be kept on person. As one can see, cannabis has a long road ahead of being legalized and accepted to the point where individuals can cross-borders with cannabis in their possession. But the silver lining is that cannabis legalization is heading in the direction that will ultimately lead to the allowance of flying with cannabis in a controlled manner. But for now, one can only remain patient until such a time comes. 

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