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Marijuana Legalized on In-State Flights at Portland International Airport

Marijuana Legalized on In-State Flights at Portland International Airport
Jeff Edwards

TSA will no longer target passengers flying with legal amounts of marijuana on commercial airline flights within the state of Oregon.

Since July 1, recreational marijuana use has been legal in the state of Oregon. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has said that it will not stand in the way of passengers who are in compliance with state law from flying with permitted amounts of weed so long as those passengers are not flying across the state line.

New Sign at PDX (photo: KPTV)According to Portland’s KPTV, flyers at Portland International Airport (PDX) who are found to have small amounts of the recently legalized drug will be referred to Airport Police officers, who will determine if the passengers are of legal age, ticketed on a flight within the state and in compliance with the new recreational marijuana law. Passengers who are not in violation of state law will be allowed to continue to their flights.

Signs posted at airport security checkpoints are already serving as a reminder that the rules have changed in an unexpected way. The notices read: “Please be advised recreational marijuana is not permitted on flights traveling outside of Oregon.”

While marijuana use and possession is still prohibited under U.S. Federal law, PDX authorities insist TSA checkpoints will not be actively looking for marijuana and will refer violations to local police who are obliged to follow Oregon drug laws. A statement released by the TSA concurred, noting the agency’s focus would continue to be to “detect threats to aviation security,” not drug interdiction.

The new rules at PDX are somewhat of a departure; when Colorado and Washington passed measures decriminalizing marijuana, officials were quick to warn passengers not to attempt to fly with marijuana or other cannabis products that are still considered contraband by federal authorities.

[Photos: iStock, KPTV]

View Comments (3)


  1. Boggie Dog

    July 14, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    I am not against this but have to wonder how Federal Employees, i.e., TSA, who say they have to report any evidence of a crime to law Enforcement can turn a blind eye to the possession of a federally controlled substance?

    Does that mean that TSA screeners do not have to report suspected criminal activity after all?

    If they don’t have to report all suspected criminal activity then who chooses and would that not be a defense for any other criminal act that was turned in by TSA employees?

  2. amanuensis


    July 14, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Read the article Boggie Doggie, it answers your question. The TSA said they would report to the airport police. The airport police will determine whether the possession appears to violate OR state law.

  3. cestmoi123

    July 15, 2015 at 6:59 am

    This is absurd. The job of the TSA, and the whole and only reason they’re authorized to search people, is to look for threats to aviation. Whether or not someone has pot on them is NOT a threat to aviation.

    Given TSA’s incredibly high failure rate when tested on the job they’re supposed to do (keep weapons and explosives off planes), they need to focus 100% on that, and stop wasting time on other things that aren’t part of their job.

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