Can You Take Marijuana on a Plane?

Since flights have resumed following the outbreak of coronavirus, Americans are flocking to airports. As such, many cannabis lovers are asking questions like: Can I fly with marijuana? And do check bags get searched for drugs? 

Well, not long before COVID-19 broke out, D’Angelo Russel attempted to sneak weed onto a flight from New York to Louisville inside a can of Arizona Iced Tea. Too bad he was caught, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) took legal action against him. 

Perhaps the news is not good for cannabis users. To learn if flying with edibles containing marijuana is safe, read on. 

Can I Fly With Marijuana? 

Short answer, NO. While the laws might change in the future, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level in the US. In fact, the federal government classifies marijuana and other drugs like cocaine and heroin with a “high potential of abuse and little to no medical benefits.”

In a 1980’s film, the main character manages to carry an entire suitcase of cocaine through the airport. It’s a lot different now and hiding an unlawful item is too risky. 

Airport security check.

We all know that airport security has become more stringent with each passing year. So, considering the high-tech scanning technology at today’s airports, flying with edibles that contain marijuana is a big no-no. 

Do Checked Bags Get Searched For Drugs? 

When D’Angelo Russel was caught traveling with weed, he was cited for marijuana possession in his “checked bag.” So yes, checked bags can get searched for drugs. 

Technically speaking, modern scanners cannot detect drugs in your bag. However, they make it easy for the airport staff to spot them. Therefore, it depends entirely on how attentive the airport security is.

And for the most part, airport security is quite vigilant as it’s their job. So, you have a high chance of getting caught.

Is It Easy to Sneak Weed on a Plane?

Sneaking pot on an airplane is not easy, and perhaps very risky. Also, it’s not only about the weight or the amount. For instance, if you carry 25 pounds of weed, the chances of getting caught are the same as when you bring one pound of it.

So whether you plan to ingest marijuana pills or hide them away in edibles, shoes, or other products, you will inevitably end up in jail. 

But how will you exactly get caught for carrying drugs with you at the airport? Short answer: scanners. 

US airport security operates on two types of electronic scanners.

  • Full-body scanners
  • Baggage scanners

Whether you have swallowed marijuana or wrapped it in aluminum foil, a full-body scanner will likely detect a foreign object in your body. Then, the airport security will investigate further to determine the exact nature of the substance you’re carrying in your body. 

Millimeter-wave body scanners bounce electronic waves off the transmitter and provide an animated reflection. 

On the other hand, backscatter X-ray scanners use ionizing radiation that is reflected by the human body. Nevertheless, they can be overly revealing, and hence, their use is a bit controversial. 

Once the green light blinks, it indicates that you’re not carrying any illegal product with you. Hence, the security allows you to pass through. 

The airport security uses baggage scanners to scan your luggage. Once the device identifies an object with a suspicious identity, your bag will be flagged for further investigation. 

The density of contraband like drugs is pretty common at airports, and hence, the security can quickly spot it. 

So, it’s not easy to sneak weed at the airport. 

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What Happens If the TSA Finds Marijuana in My Luggage?

If the TSA finds marijuana in your luggage, they won’t invite you for dinner or ask for a share; they’ll, of course, take legal action against you. 

The TSA is “cool” with security checks, and they are probably not “searching for marijuana.” Instead, their screening procedures are solely focused on security. 

For instance, in an Instagram post, the TSA mentions, “Are we cool? We think we are cool.” They proceed, “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.” 

They further add that their security procedures are meant for “detecting potential threats.” Nevertheless, if they find a passenger transporting drugs, they are required by the federal law to “notify law enforcement.” 

So, if the TSA finds marijuana in your luggage, too bad you’re out of luck.

Flying With Edibles That Contain Marijuana

Marijuana and certain cannabis-infused products remain illegal under federal law. If, however, the product you’re carrying has less than or equal to 0.3% THC, you can take it safely. Why? Because THC concentration equal to or below 0.3% doesn’t get you high, neither does it appear on a drug screening test. 

Marijuana, on the other hand, has a high amount of THC, which is psychoactive. Therefore, flying with edibles that solely contain pot would be a bad idea. 

Nevertheless, you have the option to choose from CBD products that contain THC below 0.3%. For more safety, you can opt for THC-free CBD products.

Dogs and Airport Security

Dogs’ sense of smell is 40 times stronger than humans. As such, they are given the training to sniff the scent of drugs at the airport. 

Airport security and a security dog checking someone's luggage.

The Airport Industry Review mentions, “Canine teams like the Beagle Brigade in the US are trained not only to detect explosives but also drugs, cash, and animal parts.”

Dogs have perhaps no interest in marijuana or any other drug you carry with you, they are just searching for their favorite toy. Simply put, their training program has taught them to associate a toy with the smell of drugs. 

So, there’s no chance of getting away with marijuana at the airport. 

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Stashing cannabis in your luggage is by no means the right thing to do. In case the security catches you, you may face a heavy fine, seizure, or arrest. The rules apply to all passengers traveling out of United States airports and to foreigners entering.

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