While traveling internationally with marijuana is always illegal, domestic travel in the US seems to have more gray area. The rules vary based on whether you’re crossing state lines, whether your marijuana is medical or recreational, and the laws of the state or states you’re in.
Because of this, there are several things you should take into account when you travel with marijuana to avoid trouble and make it to your destination safely.
How Much You Can Have in Your Car
Whether you’re driving from the dispensary to your home or just within a state where recreational marijuana has been legalized, you need to know how much you can legally have on you while you’re out and about.
In most states, the answer is one ounce, though there are a couple that allow a little more than that. Check your state’s laws for the specific amount.
That being said, you can’t just toss the bag in your passenger seat and hit the road. Most states where marijuana has been decriminalized treat it like alcohol.
Therefore, you can’t have marijuana that is unpackaged or in an open container in your car. And you can’t have a container anywhere easily accessible to the driver or their passengers. The best practice is to store it in your trunk until you reach your destination.
Of course, it shouldn’t need to be said that you cannot use marijuana while you drive or just before. Driving under the influence is a public health hazard and will count as a DUI or DWI which can have steep consequences for you.
The Difference Between Medical and Recreational Marijuana
Legally, it’s important to learn the distinction between medical and recreational marijuana. Over 30 states have provisions allowing medical marijuana, while only a handful have fully legalized recreational marijuana.
Therefore, knowing the difference and the legal status of your marijuana as you travel could mean the difference between you keeping your freedom or going to jail and potentially getting a criminal record. The web is full of great resources for quickly looking up laws by state so you can check before you go.
Federal vs State Laws
The legal system of the U.S. is often confusing to anyone who did not attend law school, and even some who did. The federal system means that there are different levels of government—federal, state, and local. Each jurisdiction has its own sets of laws, and these often contradict each other, as is the case of marijuana in many states.
Marijuana is illegal federally with no exceptions for medical marijuana. Because travel between states is a federal matter, technically traveling with marijuana from one state to another is a federal offense, and you should not do it.
However, as police are rarely waiting at state lines looking for violators, prosecutions for possession of small amounts of marijuana in this context are rare. The potential consequences for being caught if you do decide to risk it are high, so it’s best to just not.
The TSA Policy
If you’re flying in your travels, you’ll face more scrutiny. Many people become worried or even paranoid about traveling through airport security en route to their destination.
There is a good reason for this. The TSA, or Transportation Security Administration, who checks you and your bags, is a federal body. Therefore, they answer to federal law which has a no-tolerance policy for marijuana. If they find you with marijuana, even medical marijuana, they have to report it to local law enforcement officer who will assess the case from there.
Some airports even have specific bins for disposing of any marijuana before you reach the security checkpoint.
With all that being said, the TSA has explicitly stated that they aren’t looking for marijuana or any other kind of drugs. They are looking for anything that could threaten passenger safety. Therefore, they are generally much more interested in uncovering terror plots than discovering a few grams in a passenger’s backpack.
Still, it’s advised that you don’t try to sneak your pot past the TSA. If, while checking you and your luggage for items, they happen to find your stash or suspect that there is a violation, they will likely have to report you.
Flying with CBD
CBD faces a lot fewer restrictions than its psychoactive counterpart THC. Because of that, CBD and CBD-infused products are absolutely allowed through the security checkpoints, provided that the THC content doesn’t exceed .3 percent. If the CBD is in liquid, lotion, or gel form, it will be held to the usual liquid rules—don’t exceed 3.4 ounces.
Smoking on Airplanes
Smoking anything, marijuana or otherwise, is strictly forbidden on all airplanes. There are no exceptions, not even medical marijuana, and if you are caught smoking in an airplane you could face heavy fines and even jail time. Don’t do it.
With medical and recreational marijuana becoming more accepted across the country, more people are taking it with them as they travel. When you hit the road, make sure you understand the laws for where you buy your product and where you’re going. Being caught breaking those laws could ruin your vacation.
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