Legal Marijuana Ends at Airport Security, Even if It’s Rarely Stopped
People in 29 states can legally use medical marijuana for a variety of problems, including the relief of pain, anxiety or stress. But what if they want to travel with it?
Secure airport areas beyond the Transportation Security Administration checkpoints are under federal control, and the federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 (most harmful) substance, even in states where it is legal for adults to consume it.
The laws conflict, but federal law trumps state law, making it illegal to fly with marijuana in carry-on or checked luggage. It is also illegal to transport marijuana across state lines, even if both states have legalized it.
Still, some passengers, especially on domestic flights, take the risk, because searching for marijuana is not on the T.S.A.’s to-do list.
The agency focuses “on terrorism and security threats to the aircraft and its passengers,” a spokesman, Bruce Anderson, said. Airport screeners are looking for things that can take down an airplane, like guns or explosives, not marijuana, he said.
But if screeners do notice marijuana in someone’s carry-on or checked luggage, Mr. Anderson said, they will call in local airport law enforcement officials to deal with it.