While it’s a very gray area at the moment, the Transportation Security Authority (TSA) has been looking the other way when passengers attempt to board state-to-state flights in the U.S. with marijuana in their possession. They are not making a bold statement that they are permitting travel with marijuana, but they are not making arrests, either.
Generally, when an airline passenger has attempted to board a flight with contraband, illegal substances, or prohibited items in their possession, the TSA has deferred the matter to the realm of local law enforcement. In states where medicinal marijuana is permitted, local authorities typically aren’t going make an arrest because the passenger is a medicinal marijuana patient.
Despite marijuana remaining illegal under Federal law, this deference to local enforcement agencies has presented a quandary for Federal airline security personnel. Their attempt to enforce Federal law, combined with the fact that they defer the situation to local police, leaves the TSA with a situation where an arrest won’t be made based on the state’s marijuana laws.
Because of this, the TSA has begun unofficially allowing medicinal marijuana passengers to travel with their weed, and permits passengers traveling between the two states that allow recreational marijuana use (Colorado and Washington) to also board with the substance. TSA authorities have stated that their desire is for marijuana laws to be changed at a Federal level to reduce or eliminate the strict regulations governing possession of marijuana.
While it is technically a “try at your own risk” situation, if you do plan to travel by air between or to states that have medicinal or recreational marijuana laws, you will likely be permitted to board your flight and arrive at your destination without any interference from local or Federal law enforcement.