DISCLAIMER: Content in this article is for reference purposes and is not intended to substitute for advice given by a physician, pharmacist, licensed health-care professional, or legal counsel. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. The laws surrounding marijuana products aren't clear or being enforced the same way across the country, so always consult legal counsel with any questions.
Those of us lucky enough to live in states with legalized marijuana policies are accustomed to having medicine on-demand, 24/7. However, the holiday traveling season and transition into winter migration adventures have a lot of cannabis consumers asking the same question: Can I take my marijuana with me? While packing flower is a risky move when crossing state lines, edibles are the go-to portable products for consumers who choose to take the risk. The federal government’s increasingly harsh stance against recreational marijuana should inspire traveling consumers to pack wisely and earnestly consider: Is flying with edibles safe?
What Does the TSA Look For?
Though the TSA does not strictly look for medical marijuana products, which encompass the range of edible products available throughout legalized states, the agency will take action if any medical marijuana materials are observed. According to their website, if TSA officers notice substances that appear to be marijuana products, they will contact local law enforcement. Your state’s legal marijuana policies won’t spare you from federal enforcement; TSA operates according to federal statutes that prohibit the possession and transport of cannabis and marijuana products. Under federal law, marijuana is still considered dangerous and a schedule 1 substance. Marijuana remains illegal to fly within carry-on or checked luggage. It is also very illegal to transport cannabis across state lines, even if you’re traveling to and from states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana policies.
You could take a page out of Melissa Etheridge’s songbook and pack edible marijuana products in a checked bag. The singer also pairs her state-specific doctor’s recommendation with her products. Etheridge’s actions reflect some of the attitudes prevalent among the American cannabis community. Travelers that recognize the fact that the TSA’s priorities remain on catching and subduing terrorism efforts are often emboldened to take their products with them. The numbers reflect this focus: In 2015, TSA agents at the Denver International Airport stopped only 29 travelers for marijuana possession, said airport spokesman Heath Montgomery to the New York Times.
Don’t Draw Attention
The most likely situation that would lead TSA agents to your suitcase stash is if your carry-on bag is packed with other items that could warrant inspection or removal. For instance, a gourmet box of chocolates for your grandmother can cause an agent to examine your bag due to its shape. Suddenly, the smell of a carefully buried canister of cannabis gummies or secret chocolate bar bursts throughout the security section. What do you do?
Pack It Right
Preventative packing adds peace of mind to consumers’ travels. Some take their products out of the original wrappers in order to reinforce the packaging with an insulating material like aluminum foil. Security machines are designed to detect anomalies, so hide your products in plain sight. If someone is trying to take plant products, they’ll likely pack the flower in an odor-sealed package or with other food products to cover its scent. But it’s always safer to leave it behind.
Of course, you can always choose to eat your edibles before going through security and enjoy the feeling of being just a little higher than everyone else on the plane. Just remember those eyedrops!