Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Travel Safety/Security > Checkpoints and Borders Policy Debate
Reload this Page >

The Latest "We Don't Search for Your Pot" Post

The Latest "We Don't Search for Your Pot" Post

Old May 13, 19, 9:05 am
  #1  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: An NPR mind living in a Fox News world
Posts: 13,724
The Latest "We Don't Search for Your Pot" Post

This time, the TSA felt compelled to go out on
, but it made the https://www.flyertalk.com/articles/the-tsa-we-wont-look-for-your-pot.htmlof FT.

We've all heard this before:

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, weíre required by federal law to notify law enforcement.
This time around, there are a couple of subtle, but important differences:
1. "a substance appears to be marijuana or a cannabis infused product..." The long-used term "accidentally discovered" is not used. This would imply that, if they saw pot on the x-ray, they would bust you. A further speculation is that they must teach what pot looks like at the infamous academy.
2. This also implies that they no longer have to invent a WEI excuse for searching your bag for pot or other drugs.

They keep referring to "federal law" that requires them to call the cops. I was in federal civil and military service for over 40 years and I can honestly state that I have never seen this "law." Can anyone else quote chapter & verse?
FliesWay2Much is offline  
Old May 13, 19, 10:34 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 3,521
Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much View Post
This time, the TSA felt compelled to go out on Instagram, but it made the front page of FT.

We've all heard this before:



This time around, there are a couple of subtle, but important differences:
1. "a substance appears to be marijuana or a cannabis infused product..." The long-used term "accidentally discovered" is not used. This would imply that, if they saw pot on the x-ray, they would bust you. A further speculation is that they must teach what pot looks like at the infamous academy.
2. This also implies that they no longer have to invent a WEI excuse for searching your bag for pot or other drugs.

They keep referring to "federal law" that requires them to call the cops. I was in federal civil and military service for over 40 years and I can honestly state that I have never seen this "law." Can anyone else quote chapter & verse?
Just guessing from reading an article in Forbes: The Controlled Substances Act?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/suzanne.../#1917a3d331e6
petaluma1 is offline  
Old May 13, 19, 11:47 am
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: DFW
Posts: 19,084
TSA, we don't need any stinking laws!
Boggie Dog is offline  
Old May 13, 19, 9:36 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 574
Now that marijuana is legal for so many people, has the protocol changed?
yandosan is offline  
Old May 14, 19, 5:34 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 3,521
Originally Posted by yandosan View Post
Now that marijuana is legal for so many people, has the protocol changed?
Nope. Federally, it is still illegal.
petaluma1 is offline  
Old May 14, 19, 5:53 am
  #6  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 50,270
Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much View Post
This time, the TSA felt compelled to go out on
, but it made the https://www.flyertalk.com/articles/the-tsa-we-wont-look-for-your-pot.htmlof FT.

We've all heard this before:



This time around, there are a couple of subtle, but important differences:
1. "a substance appears to be marijuana or a cannabis infused product..." The long-used term "accidentally discovered" is not used. This would imply that, if they saw pot on the x-ray, they would bust you. A further speculation is that they must teach what pot looks like at the infamous academy.
2. This also implies that they no longer have to invent a WEI excuse for searching your bag for pot or other drugs.

They keep referring to "federal law" that requires them to call the cops. I was in federal civil and military service for over 40 years and I can honestly state that I have never seen this "law." Can anyone else quote chapter & verse?
It remains a violation of federal law to possess marijuana. It has been a violation of federal law for the 40 years of your service.

This does not require that a LEO make an arrest or otherwise pursue a case against an individual found in possession of a controlled substance. But, TSA Officers are not LEO's and it is not their decision to make. If a TSA Officer reports the find to a LEO and the LEO chooses to simply dispose of the product and not pursue a case, that is well within the LEO's discretion and happens every day.
Often1 is offline  
Old May 14, 19, 6:00 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: San Antonio, TX
Programs: AA EXP, DL Silver, Global Entry
Posts: 1,789
Originally Posted by yandosan View Post
Now that marijuana is legal for so many people, has the protocol changed?
I would think not. Federal laws come into play as flying with a still controlled substance under Federal law could constitute interstate transportation. In reality I do wonder in states where marijuana is legal how local police would react if TSA found marijuana on a passenger. I assume the police would tell the passenger they canít fly with their stash and make them dump it but not arrest them. Add that some states do go as far as to say itís against state law to take across state lines so Iím not sure. Not an issue to me as Texas hasnít legalized and wife and I are still subject to random checks as Federal employees so no interest here.
Randyk47 is offline  
Old May 14, 19, 8:38 am
  #8  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: An NPR mind living in a Fox News world
Posts: 13,724
An interesting test case would be for someone to take a legal amount of pot to a checkpoint in a legalized state and send it through the x-ray as the only object inside a small carry-on, purse, or perhaps the pocket of a light jacket. The pot should be in a plastic bag, so they can't claim they couldn't see inside an aluminum foil-wrapped package. Heck, you wouldn't even have to use real pot. Oregano would work just fine. The goal would be to demonstrate that the TSA, does in fact, train its screeners to search for drugs by ruling out any other justification for searching the bag or jacket.
FliesWay2Much is offline  
Old May 14, 19, 10:04 am
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: DFW
Posts: 19,084
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.
Where do TSA screeners obtain the needed expertise to believe an item appears to be an illegal drug of any type? If training can't be demonstrated then only illegal contact with drugs could be the source of expertise.
Boggie Dog is offline  
Old May 14, 19, 4:54 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Catania, Sicily/South Jersey (PHL)/Houston, Texas/airborne in-between
Programs: United Global Svcs, AA ExecPlat, WN RR, AZ Freccia Alata+, Hilton gold, SPG/Marriot Gold, Hertz Prez
Posts: 3,212
https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/...512-story.htmlPot smuggling arrests at LAX have surged 166% since marijuana legalization
FlyingHoustonian is offline  
Old May 14, 19, 5:00 pm
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: An NPR mind living in a Fox News world
Posts: 13,724
Originally Posted by Boggie Dog View Post
Where do TSA screeners obtain the needed expertise to believe an item appears to be an illegal drug of any type? If training can't be demonstrated then only illegal contact with drugs could be the source of expertise.
...or cop shows. If they are going to stick with the party line, they really can't admit they train their clerks to detect pot and other drugs on X-ray images. If they did admit that they do include this in their training, they can't continue to say they don't search for drugs. I would speculate that they aren't stupid enough to include drug or cash detection at the infamous academy. I have a hunch it's taught in their airports, where there won't be any official records or training materials.
FliesWay2Much is offline  
Old May 15, 19, 9:22 am
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: where the chile is hot
Programs: AA,RR,NW,Delta ,UA,CO
Posts: 32,730
Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much View Post
An interesting test case would be for someone to take a legal amount of pot to a checkpoint in a legalized state and send it through the x-ray as the only object inside a small carry-on, purse, or perhaps the pocket of a light jacket. The pot should be in a plastic bag, so they can't claim they couldn't see inside an aluminum foil-wrapped package. Heck, you wouldn't even have to use real pot. Oregano would work just fine. The goal would be to demonstrate that the TSA, does in fact, train its screeners to search for drugs by ruling out any other justification for searching the bag or jacket.
I'm waiting for the first time the cops are called because a TSO is challenging a pax with a baggie full of unlabelled 'edibles'.

If they are really not looking for drugs, then a spice jar labelled 'oregano' or a baggie full of brownies or cookies should never be challenged if they pass the xray and a swab.

I had legal prescription drugs confiscated because of the label. No swab or confirmation of the contents was done - the bottle was never even opened.

Last edited by chollie; May 15, 19 at 9:28 am
chollie is offline  
Old May 15, 19, 2:11 pm
  #13  
Ari
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 11,226
Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
This does not require that a LEO make an arrest or otherwise pursue a case against an individual found in possession of a controlled substance. But, TSA Officers are not LEO's and it is not their decision to make. If a TSA Officer reports the find to a LEO and the LEO chooses to simply dispose of the product and not pursue a case, that is well within the LEO's discretion and happens every day.
Right. And I think the unanswered question FliesWay2Much posed is "what law requires the TSO to notify the LEO upon encountering the presumably illicit substance?" (Implied in the question is that such taddle-tale practice is just the TSA's policy, not based upon any statutory duty).
Ari is offline  
Old May 20, 19, 2:27 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Greensboro
Programs: TSA
Posts: 2,378
Originally Posted by FliesWay2Much View Post
This time, the TSA felt compelled to go out on Instagram, but it made the front page of FT.

We've all heard this before:



This time around, there are a couple of subtle, but important differences:
1. "a substance appears to be marijuana or a cannabis infused product..." The long-used term "accidentally discovered" is not used. This would imply that, if they saw pot on the x-ray, they would bust you. A further speculation is that they must teach what pot looks like at the infamous academy.
2. This also implies that they no longer have to invent a WEI excuse for searching your bag for pot or other drugs.

They keep referring to "federal law" that requires them to call the cops. I was in federal civil and military service for over 40 years and I can honestly state that I have never seen this "law." Can anyone else quote chapter & verse?
I think you are reading too hard into the article, or perhaps appending your personal view on what is written. Items are not always "accidentally found", most times they are found "incidental to a search for a possible prohibited/dangerous/threat items". The search, is to determine if an item is a threat item, or something that is not a threat - if, during that search, a TSO finds something that appears to be illegal, they must notify the STSO/LEO by rule/regulation/law.
1. The implication you perceive here, is not the case at all. There are times where illegal items can present a similar appearance to some threat items, but that is incidental.
2. The search is for the same reasons it always has been, to prevent WEI/Dangerous items from getting on to planes, and is part of an overall administrative scheme

The simple fact is, that TSA as an organization, does not teach people to search specifically for illegal drugs. A different reasoning for the difference in tone, is that possibly someone new is writing the dispatches and has a different style - at least, that is more reasonable than TSA incorporates (as part of it's overall training scheme) a direct statement to the workforce to actively search for illegal drugs. The training, and wording of this has remained almost exactly the same since I came to the organization - they actually tell you (repeatedly and in myriad different training courses) that you are not there to seek illegal drugs or illegal items, you are there to prevent possible threat items from getting on planes. I honestly think you are reading way too much into the way the release is written, because none of the teaching has changed, none of the overall message has changed.
gsoltso is offline  
Old May 20, 19, 2:58 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Baltimore, MD USA
Programs: Southwest Rapid Rewards. Tha... that's about it.
Posts: 4,130
Originally Posted by gsoltso View Post
I think you are reading too hard into the article, or perhaps appending your personal view on what is written. Items are not always "accidentally found", most times they are found "incidental to a search for a possible prohibited/dangerous/threat items". The search, is to determine if an item is a threat item, or something that is not a threat - if, during that search, a TSO finds something that appears to be illegal, they must notify the STSO/LEO by rule/regulation/law.
1. The implication you perceive here, is not the case at all. There are times where illegal items can present a similar appearance to some threat items, but that is incidental.
2. The search is for the same reasons it always has been, to prevent WEI/Dangerous items from getting on to planes, and is part of an overall administrative scheme

The simple fact is, that TSA as an organization, does not teach people to search specifically for illegal drugs. A different reasoning for the difference in tone, is that possibly someone new is writing the dispatches and has a different style - at least, that is more reasonable than TSA incorporates (as part of it's overall training scheme) a direct statement to the workforce to actively search for illegal drugs. The training, and wording of this has remained almost exactly the same since I came to the organization - they actually tell you (repeatedly and in myriad different training courses) that you are not there to seek illegal drugs or illegal items, you are there to prevent possible threat items from getting on planes. I honestly think you are reading way too much into the way the release is written, because none of the teaching has changed, none of the overall message has changed.
Bolding mine.

My response to that is, does TSA specifically recognize, commend, or reward TSOs who find illegal drugs, human traffickers, or other criminal activity incidental to screening?
WillCAD is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: