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Is it safe to fly with Marijuana?

03 December 2014

The short answer is- not really.

TSA & DEA don’t necessarily get along and as a result TSA is largely turning a blind eye to travelers with personal use amounts of Marijuana. The DEA wants TSA to do their job regarding busting people with pot at the airport and TSA said unless you pay us to do so it’s your job to interdict drugs at the airport and it’s our job to make sure passengers are safe.

Marijuana is illegal under Federal law- and in several states. If you possess marijuana at the airport you run the risk of being detained, arrested, prosecuted under state or federal law, or at a minimum having to put your weed in your car or throw it away.

TSA is not in the business of searching passengers for drugs. Rather, they are there to keep us safe. If TSA finds your weed, the decision is largely up to the discretion of the individual agent.

The official TSA policy is as follows:

“TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other drugs. In the event a substance that appears to be marijuana is observed during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer. Whether or not marijuana is considered legal under local law is not relevant to TSA screening because TSA is governed by federal law. Federal law provides no basis to treat medical marijuana any differently than non-medical marijuana. Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.”

TSA generally will report it to local authorities.  Of course, in Florida, Marijuana is still illegal so less than 20 grams is a misdemeanor and over 20 grams is a 3rd degree felony. However, TSA seems to be following suit with the majority of the nation and changing its attitude towards pot.

The bottom line is traveling with weed is still illegal, so you will always be at risk.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Chad Piotrowski - post author

Chad Piotrowski is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida. He is a former Miami-Dade Prosecutor and has practiced criminal law, exclusively, for more than 10 years.

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