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The TSA: We Won’t Look for Your Pot

The TSA: We Won’t Look for Your Pot
Jennifer Billock

As more and more states begin to legalize cannabis—and some other states keep it illegal—traveling around the country can get complicated and confusing. Here’s what you need to know so that you don’t accidentally get arrested because you forgot about that small stash and left it in your carry-on bag.

If you’re keeping a tally, 10 states are cool with recreational cannabis and 23 have legalized medical marijuana. But on a federal level, cannabis is still illegal. Essentially, that means you can’t travel across state lines with the stuff. But what if you forget before you get on a plane? It is really that big a deal?

For their part, the Transportation Security Administration is trying to be the cool kid on the block here, noting on an Instagram post that they’re really not looking for your pot:

“Are we cool? We like to think we’re cool. We want you to have a pleasant experience at the airport and arrive safely at your destination. But getting caught while trying to fly with marijuana or cannabis-infused products can really harsh your mellow. Let us be blunt: TSA officers DO NOT search for marijuana or other illegal drugs. Our screening procedures are focused on security and detecting potential threats. But in the event a substance appears to be marijuana or a cannabis-infused product, we’re required by federal law to notify law enforcement. This includes items that are used for medicinal purposes.”

The important thing to remember is that, although they’re not actively looking for it, if they accidentally find it they have to report you. Some states where pot is legal won’t care and will let you travel anyway, but others will confiscate your weed and either fine you or arrest you.


[Image Source: Pxhere]

View Comments (2)


  1. gum

    May 13, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Dear Jennifer,

    thank you for reporting this opinion of the TSA. I am not sure if you have conducted a thorough research on this and related topics.

    This reminds me abbout a sad story reported by mkann69 here on flyertalk:

    More than eight years ago he pointed out the legal position to the TSA has and that they seem to cross red lines.

    If they are searching money or searching for items which are allowed in one part of the country and not in another state: It is not their business and task.

    It should be part of the news coverage to give the passengers hints what the TSA is allowed to do and where the limitations are.

    Next step would be to ask any passenger who has medicine with him if he has a prescription or not. They are not qualified for that and it is not their task.

    Conclusion: Something is missing in the coverage of flyertalk.

    Best regards

  2. petaluma1

    May 13, 2019 at 9:27 am

    Can anyone cite the “federal law” that requires TSA to call law enforcement if they suspect someone is carrying drugs?

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