While the laws related to purchasing and consuming marijuana have changed in Washington and Colorado, there have been no changes in the rules and regulations related to airline travel and marijuana.
Key things passengers should know
There are a few key things that any airline passenger should understand about the current laws before traveling to Washington or Colorado:
- Federal law has not changed: Marijuana continues to be illegal at the federal (national) level. The federal government allows medical or recreational use of marijuana within a state, but prohibits the transportation of marijuana across state lines.
- Possession is limited at airports: The federal government has banned marijuana from any area under federal control, including the secure areas of the airport (the areas inside the TSA screening areas).
- You can't fly with marijuana: The federal government bans marijuana, even medical marijuana, on commercial aircraft, whether in a carry-on item, in checked bags, or in any package being shipped by air.
- Medical marijuana is treated the same: The federal government makes no distinction between medical marijuana and other kinds of marijuana.
The TSA and marijuana
The TSA is not a law enforcement agency, and the TSA has stated that its security officers do not specifically search for illegal drugs. However, if they discover marijuana or a marijuana-related item (even in Washington or Colorado), TSA's policy is to refer the matter to law enforcement.
Law enforcement at an airport typically handled by a local or state level law enforcement agency. How a passenger will be treated will depend on the location and the circumstances. At the very least, the passenger's marijuana will likely be confiscated.
Entering the US with marijuana
US customs officials will not allow marijuana, or any item intended to be used with marijuana, to enter the country. In addition, non-US citizens who attempt to enter the US with marijuana or marijuana-related items may be prevented from entering the US.
Also, if you are a non-US citizens who is attempting to enter the US for the purposes of consuming marijuana in Washington or Colorado, you could be prevented from entering the country.
Marijuana resources on AirSafe.com
The following pages provide detailed information about issues surrounding air travel and marijuana:
- Air travel issues and marijuana
- Common questions about air travel and marijuana
- Basic laws and restrictions in Colorado and Washington
- Avoidable marijuana risks
- How to buy marijuana in Colorado and Washington
- Edible marijuana basics
- Marijuana advice for the novice user
- Recreational marijuana vocabulary
- Items prohibited and restricted by the TSA
Todd Curtis was interviewed by iCannabisRadio.com on 3 February 2014 about airline travel issues for passengers who plan to fly to Colorado or Washington state to legally purchase and consume recreational marijuana. Watch the video below, or listen to the MP3 of the same interview
Photo credit: DEA