Illinois Tourism & Travel

Crazy About Travel

What happens if TSA finds weed in my bag?

What happens if TSA finds weed in my bag?


Traveling has usually appear with problems. Our By The Way Concierge column will take your travel dilemmas to the industry experts to support you navigate the new normal. Want to see your dilemma answered? Post it right here.

As cannabis will become authorized in additional states, we wished to handle a concern lots of travelers have: Can you bring weed by way of airport safety?

You’re traveling from a point out where by marijuana is authorized to a condition in which cannabis is authorized. You think that implies you are in the obvious, but you’d be erroneous. No make a difference your departure and arrival destinations, it is continue to unlawful to fly with cannabis.

That’s because marijuana possession nevertheless remains unlawful less than federal regulation, and when you fly, federal businesses are in demand.

6 inquiries about traveling with cannabis, answered

The Transportation Protection Administration is in cost of safety, while the Federal Aviation Administration controls the airways. Then, if you’re moving into the nation from abroad, there is Customs and Border Security.

They enforce federal guidelines, and “at the federal degree, it remains criminal to possess any volume of hashish, even for clinical purposes,” claims Brett Schuman, a lover at Goodwin law organization and co-chair of its cannabis apply. (There’s a caveat: Cannabis is lawful if it contains no much more than .3 {32bc5e747b31d501df756e0d52c4fc33c2ecc33869222042bcd2be76582ed298} THC on a dry excess weight foundation.)

So it is unlawful to provide cannabis including joints and ediblesthrough airport safety, fly with it or go by customs and immigration with it in your checked or carry-on bag, even if you are flying between two locations wherever it is lawful.

However, that doesn’t suggest you’re likely to federal jail if TSA finds weed in your bag.

“TSA has been crystal clear that its target is on stability for us, the passengers, and not prescription drugs,” claims Shawn Hauser, a partner at the countrywide cannabis regulation agency Vicente Sederberg LLP and co-chair of the firm’s Hemp and Cannabinoids Division.

I’ve spoken to TSA various occasions on the subject, and its plan is uncomplicated: “TSA is not looking for marijuana or other medications,” TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein stated in an email. “And preserve in mind, the TSA canines are skilled to detect explosive odors, not drugs.”

If TSA officers find marijuana or other medications for the duration of a plan screening method, they are meant to notify nearby law enforcement, which helps make the remaining call.

That final phone can range. If you’re in a condition wherever marijuana is legal, local legislation enforcement almost certainly won’t reply to airport phone calls if it’s located. And if they do, Hauser suggests, they would not arrest anyone who’s in compliance with state legislation. (For instance, authorities at LAX cannot arrest you for acquiring some hashish if it is inside the lawful quantity California enables.)

TSA might only confiscate cannabis, convey to you to toss it away or “they may well talk to you to put it in an amnesty box or even just take it to your vehicle,” Hauser claims. Some airports prohibit marijuana possession on their assets and can high-quality passengers caught breaking the rule.

Then again, “this is not published down wherever, but personal TSA officers could work out discretion to not report you at all,” Schuman claims.

You can run into more considerable effects if you’re carrying more substantial amounts of weed or touring through a condition that remains staunchly anti-cannabis, these as Idaho, Nebraska or Texas, Schuman says.

No, you just cannot fly large or drunk

In anti-pot states, it is typically other authorities — not TSA — that find marijuana and charge travelers.

CBP has been regarded to uncover cannabis in passengers’ luggage, sometimes with the enable of drug-detecting K-9s, which can end result in fines, felony prices or dropping your Global Entry membership.

There are also extraordinary scenarios of authorities locating tourists carrying massive quantities of weed. In Arkansas, detectives and their drug-detecting pet dogs found about 180 lbs of marijuana in a lawyer’s luggage at the Little Rock airport last year.

That exact same thirty day period in Tennessee, a drug puppy utilized by the Drug Enforcement Administration and neighborhood detectives found 12 bags of marijuana in baggage at the Memphis airport, major to the detainment of the bag’s proprietor, a search warrant for his household and, afterwards, felony charges, FOX13 Memphis claimed. In December, two Spirit Airways tourists in Nashville were being booked into the Metro jail and billed with felony drug possession immediately after a K-9 unit found 18 lbs . of marijuana in their luggage at the airport.

It is “pretty rare” to see every day tourists experience legal consequences for modest amounts, Hauser suggests, regardless of acquiring a shopper detained at an airport in a state in which weed is unlawful, who then went by way of “a simple court docket continuing that was swiftly resolved.”

Schuman has the exact same impression. He’s not knowledgeable of the “average Jane or typical Joe traveling by means of an airport with a pre-roll or bundle of gummies” who has invested any time in jail.

But even though TSA isn’t hunting for your pot, “the leading-line response has to be: This stays federally unlawful,” Schuman said.

Have a journey problem for By The Way Concierge? Ship it to us right here.