Cannabis legalization continues to spread through the United States, Canada, and other parts of the world. But there’s still one sticky matter when it comes to cannabis: plane travel.
Bringing cannabis with you in various forms when you’re traveling on planes from state to state or country to country is still a gray area… legally, at least. But one thing that makes this much more confusing is that cannabis comes in so many different forms, and some of them are obviously much easier to detect by airport authorities than others. Flower, for one: traveling with raw cannabis flower involves a much higher risk of getting detected because it gives off a smell, but it seems that more people can get away with edibles with them, even on international flights, despite the serious risks involved.
The rules surrounding plane travel, including edibles, is chaotic at best. Cannabis is a federally illegal substance, and even if it’s been legalized in the state you live in, it remains technically illegal for the government. Airports are owned by the city, and the federal government is authorized to operate them so whenever you pass through security, you’re basically in the land of the federal government. This applies even if you’ve purchased your weed legally.
How Safe Is It To Fly With Edibles?
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the government agency tasked with overseeing the safety of the traveling public in the United States, is highly unlikely to stop you for traveling with cannabis-infused gummies. They’re more concerned about detecting weapons, bombs, or any other suspicious items that could harm others. After all, the TSA was formed right after 9/11, to help make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
TSA guidelines state that, “…TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but in the event a substance that appears to be marijuana or a cannabis infused product is observed during security screenings, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”
“TSA’s focus is on terrorism and security threats to the aircraft and its passengers,” TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers told HuffPost in a statement. “TSA’s screening procedures, which are governed by federal law, are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers.”
If you get caught with a ludicrous amount of pot even in the form of edibles, airport authorities will likely hand you over to local law enforcement, who will deal with it in an unpredictable manner. They may ask you to toss your stash in an amnesty box, if you’re in the McCarran International Airport of Las Vegas. If you have a prescription, they may just let you pass through, but this is more likely as long as you aren’t traveling with a huge amount of pot.
If you’re going to travel with edibles, make sure you do it as safely as possible. Edibles don’t look like cannabis at all – but best to travel with them smart. A rookie mistake would be packing your edibles in its original packaging. Some of the things you can do to avoid getting in trouble with your edibles is to pack them alongside other things that appear similar. For example, pack your chocolates in a Cadbury chocolate wrapper, or mix up some candies in a bag of Jelly Belly candies. If your edibles are in the form of capsules, just toss the pills into a supplement bottle, put it on your carry on, and you’re good to go.
The Bottom Line
If you are going to fly with cannabis, edibles are the easiest way to go. Catching travelers with cannabis is clearly a low priority for the TSA but there’s still no way of predicting how they, together with local law enforcement, will react when caught.
Edibles pose the lowest risk of getting caught because they resemble everyday food, but this isn’t to say that there is no chance of you getting in trouble. For as long as cannabis is a federally illegal substance, the risk remains there, 100% of the time, and this should be something that you are aware of before you even attempt to travel with edibles.