Now that marijuana is legal in more than half of the U.S. (recreational marijuana use is legal in 8 states and medical marijuana use in 28 states), many Americans aren’t certain if they can fly with marijuana, especially if it is from one legalized state to another. The short answer is no, but the TSA’s policy regarding marijuana (below) is quite surprising.
It turns out that the TSA is far more concerned with finding dangerous items like guns and bombs than drugs, according to Salon.
The TSA’s policy regarding marijuana says:
- 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 Spokesman Mike McCarthy said, “Our agents do administrative searches, not criminal searches. Our officers are looking for any item that could cause catastrophic harm to the aircraft, but, as part of their duties, if they do detect anything that they believe to be illegal, they will refer the passenger and the baggage over to law enforcement, and it is up to the local law enforcement how to respond.”