TSA May Choose Not Hassle Passengers Traveling with Marijuana Between States Where Possession is Legal
Denver’s Westword ran a story yesterday on the Transportation Safety Administration’s (TSA) policy on individuals flying with medical marijuana and individuals flying with marijuana between Colorado and Washington (states which have voted to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana). Previously, TSA officials have stated that they would allow persons with a medical marijuana card to board a plane and travel with marijuana as long as they were traveling to a state that would honor Colorado’s medical marijuana licenses. The states that honor Colorado licenses are Maine, Michigan, Montana, Rhode Island and Arizona. Massachusetts may be added to that list, but it remains to be seen.
Moreover, TSA indicated that searching for drugs was not a priority. However, if a person was found with illegal drugs, TSA’s policy is to inform local law enforcement who may decide to press charges.
If TSA’s policy was to allow individuals to travel with medical marijuana, did anything change after Colorado and Washington voters legalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana? Westword reporters reached out to TSA officials to find out. They were given a very vague statement that indicated that TSA did have the power to detain a person, denying boarding, or confiscate any paraphernalia or illegal substances they find. However, the TSA official did not explicitly state that possession of small amounts of marijuana would cause TSA to take action against any passenger. TSA did state that it is governed by federal law and federal law remains clear that the possession of any amount of marijuana is illegal.
So what does this mean? If you traveling with medical marijuana between states with reciprocity on this issue or between Washington and Colorado the TSA may not take any action against you. However, it is always possible that they might. In addition, travelers should be aware that they must comply with all state laws regarding marijuana in the state they are traveling to. Remember, possession of any amount of marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
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