Security & Safety

Can I Travel with Cannabis? The Inconvenient Truth

Lance Griffin
Written by Lance Griffin

You live in a state with legalized cannabis. Awesome! Then you plan a vacation. Now what? Sadly, the legal haze of traveling with cannabis is thicker than ever.

The Drug Enforcement Agency enforces cannabis as a schedule I drug (high potential for abuse and no medical benefit). As such, the federal government considers cannabis equal to heroin and cocaine. According to current U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” Ouch.

In a nutshell, it is illegal to:

*Travel across state lines with cannabis (including across legalized states)

*Travel across countries with cannabis, even when legal in both countries

*Travel to a national park/federal lands (in any state) with cannabis

Airspace, airports, and borders are under federal jurisdiction. Furthermore, any federal agent in any state (legalized or not) can confiscate cannabis and make an arrest. It’s a bleak picture.

That said, thousands of people travel with cannabis every day without consequence (not a recommendation, but a reality). If you decide to flaunt federal law and travel with cannabis, do so at your own risk and heed these tips:

*Less is More: The difference between a citation and a prison sentence can be slim, but a pound is far more likely to get you in hot water than a few grams.

*Research State Law: What happens if your stash is discovered by local law enforcement? Will they ignore it, give you a ticket, or cuff you?

*Be Discreet: The TSA does not search for cannabis on domestic flights, but if found they report to local law enforcement. The TSA investigates anything suspicious (including our nude bodies), and cannabis shoved into a jar of peanut-butter is an X-ray red flag.

*Forget International Travel: Really, forget it. Domestic-flight dogs sniff for explosives, but international-flight dogs sniff for drugs. Any smidgeon of resin will be discovered. Headed to the Philippines or Indonesia? That means decades in a foreign prison.

No, you can’t travel with cannabis. But if you do, please be careful.

References

Bewley-Taylor, Dave, Chris Hallam, and Rob Allen. “The Incarceration of Drug Offenders: An Overview.” The Beckley Foundation Drug Policy Programme, 16th ser. (March 2009): 8.

Accessed October 20, 2018. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download;jsessionid=7AAC98CF3F06A660C9121B4040527579?doi=10.1.1.524.2383&rep=rep1&type=pdf.

“CBP Reminds Travelers from Canada That Marijuana Remains Illegal in the United States.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection. September 21, 2018. Accessed October 20, 2018. https://www.cbp.gov/travel/clearing-cbp/cbp-reminds-travelers-canada-marijuana-remains-illegal-united-states.

“Drug Scheduling.” DEA: United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Accessed October 20, 2018. https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling.

“Colorado Marijuana: Driving and Traveling.” Colorado: Official State Web Portal.Accessed October 20, 2018. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/marijuana/driving-and-traveling.

Preuitt, Lori. “TSA Finds Pot in Peanut Butter Jar.” NBC: Bay Area, February 15, 2012. Accessed October 20, 2018. https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/TSA-Finds-Pot-in-Peanut-Butter-Jar-139390913.html.

“Travel Advisory for Medical Marijuana Prescription Holders.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection. January 24, 2017. Accessed October 20, 2018. https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/travel-advisory-medical-marijuana-prescription-holders.

About the author

Lance Griffin

Lance Griffin

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