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Can TSA stop you for marijuana in your luggage?



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(NEXSTAR) — Maybe you’re gearing up to fly home for the holidays, or flee to a warm-weather destination to escape the cold. And while many states have legalized marijuana, you may want to think twice before packing any.


There are many things you can bring throught TSA security checkpoints at airports. That includes some timely items like baked goods, candles, and even your pets. When it comes to marijuana, it’s a bit more complicated.


Despite recent efforts, marijuana remains illegal on the federal level. TSA explains that that includes certain cannabis-infused products as well, like CBD oil.


However, you are allowed to bring cannabis products containing no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or those approved by the FDA in your carry-on or checked luggage, according to TSA.


If marijuana is rescheduled, will it be legalized nationwide?


These rules apply regardless of the departure or arrival airports.


“TSA’s response to the discovery of marijuana is the same in every state and at every airport – regardless of whether marijuana has been or is going to be legalized at the state level,”

TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers previously explained to Nexstar. “This also covers medical marijuana.”


Say for example that you’re flying from Denver to Los Angeles. Even though both states have legalized marijuana, that doesn’t mean TSA won’t stop you if they spot it in your bag.

TSA is, however, primarily focused on your safety, the safety of other travelers, and potential threats.


“The TSA has gone out of its way to say that its focus is not on marijuana,” Larry Mishkin, an Illinois lawyer at the Hoban Law Group, which offers legal services for individuals in the marijuana industry, previously told The Washington Post.


TSA officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs but are required to report any potentially illegal item they find during the security screening process to local law enforcement. Those authorities then decide what, if any, steps are taken next.


“Whether or not the passenger is allowed to travel with marijuana is up to law enforcement’s discretion,” Dankers added. Either way, cannabis products can’t go through the security checkpoint if found.


Can you bring your vape pen or e-cigarette on a plane?


Some airports, like Chicago’s O’Hare, offer cannabis amnesty boxes where travelers can ditch their weed before going through TSA. At Los Angeles International Airport, the LA Airport Police Division has “no jurisdiction to arrest individuals if they are complying with state law” while in possession of marijuana. But, the airport warns, TSA screening areas are still under federal jurisdiction – you may still have to ditch the weed, but you likely won’t be arrested.


Ultimately, as Dankers explains, “TSA’s focus is on terrorism and security threats to the aircraft and its passengers.”


Earlier this year, Ohio became the 24th state to legalize recreational marijuana. It officially became legal during the first week of December but as Nexstar’s WCMH reports, dispensaries aren’t expected to be open until late next year. Some parts of the law have yet to be set in stone as well.

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