Here’s what you need to know if you ever think about traveling by plane with cannabis. Basic advice for avoiding or reducing baggage fees. Hello there fellow stoners! I read a few days ago (cant find the post back unfortunately) that somebody managed to travel with 20 – 30 seeds put in his…
Flying With Weed: TSA Marijuana Rules Explained
As those with an affinity for marijuana – or pop culture aficionados – can tell you, April 20, or 4/20, might as well be a national holiday.
That’s the day cannabis lovers celebrate the legendary weed. Legend has it that the most plausible historical origin of 4/20 came from the 1970s, when a group of California teenage buddies met each day at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana, with the ritual soon spreading from there and the time stamp simply evolving to 4/20.
Of course, what was taboo 50 years ago is more accepted today. Medical marijuana dispensaries are nationwide, and most states have relaxed their laws on how much recreational marijuana a person can have.
Ah, but can you fly with it? (And by fly we mean literally, on an airplane, not metaphorically.)
The short answer is, no. And, at the same time, sort of.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, “Marijuana and certain cannabis-infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law except for products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by FDA. (See the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-334.) TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law to local, state or federal authorities.”
There’s your hard no. Marijuana is still illegal to fly with.
“TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers. Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”
There’s your ‘sort of.’
It’s a risk you, as a passenger, will have to take. The TSA takes jurisdiction over airline policy when it comes to marijuana and will refer you to the proper authorities if they find it.
If they find it being the key phrase.
For instance, when the state of New York last year legalized the recreational possession of up to three ounces of cannabis, TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein admitted the strange dichotomy of the interpretation of the law. Farbstein said TSA officers aren’t looking for marijuana, but have a legal duty to report it if they find more than three ounces of the stuff.
“There has been no change in the way that TSA handles marijuana or other drugs that TSA officers come across when they are performing their security duties,” Farbstein told Gotham Magazine.
Benjamin Branham, a spokesman for the Port Authority, which operates John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York City, said:
“New Yorkers 21 years old and older can possess, obtain and transport up to three ounces of cannabis. Therefore, PAPD does not issue tickets, seize or arrest for this amount at New York airports.”
Another point to consider is where you are traveling to as a final destination. While society might be more accepting of limited marijuana use, only 18 states – less than half – have legalized cannabis for recreational use.
So while you might think you’ve dodged a bullet by getting your stash past the TSA checkpoint, you still might have to deal with state laws depending on where you arrive.
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Is It Illegal To Bring Weed Seeds On A Plane
The two largest countries that allow adults to purchase, possess, and consume recreational marijuana (cannabis), Canada and the US, have very different laws and regulations when it comes to air travel. Anyone who plans to travel by air in either of these two countries should be aware of some of those laws and regulations, as well as some of the important differences between how the two countries deal with recreational marijuana. The following are some of the questions that an air traveler may ask about marijuana when it comes to air travel in the US and Canada.
For some of the questions, the answers may be different depending on which country is involved.
Basic questions and answers
Can I bring marijuana to the airport?
US: Maybe. It is only legal to do so in those jurisdiction where it is legal to possess marijuana. It depends on what you plan on doing once you are at the airport. If you are flying and have to go past security screening, marijuana is not allowed. The secure part of the airport, which is the area beyond TSA screening, is under federal control, and marijuana is not allowed in any area under federal jurisdiction, including aircraft and aircraft boarding areas. If the airport is in a state that allows the possession of marijuana, the state or local jurisdiction may have less restrictive rules in the non-secure area of the airport. However, some airports may choose to ban marijuana from all airport property. If this is not the case, then you may possess marijuana so long as you stay outside of the secure areas of the airport and don’t go through the TSA screening stations.
Canada: Yes, but with one exception. Canada does not allow marijuana to cross any international border, so marijuana is not allowed in any section of the airport where you first have to pass through customs.
Can I bring marijuana on the plane?
US: No. You are not allowed to bring marijuana on the plane. All aircraft in the US operate under federal laws and regulation, and the transport of marijuana by air is prohibited.
Canada: Yes, but only if the aircraft is on a domestic flight within Canada. Marijuana is not allowed on any international flight to or from Canada.
What happens if my plane is diverted to the US or Canada?
US: The aircraft, including all passengers, crew, baggage, and cargo would be under US jurisdiction, and anyone in possession of marijuana may be subject to US laws, which could include, fines, arrest, and being refused entry into the US in the future.
Canada: It is illegal to import marijuana into Canada, so if you have marijuana or products containing marijuana with you, you must declare them to the Canada Border Services Agency
Can I put marijuana in a checked bag?
US: No. Marijuana is not allowed on an aircraft either in carry on bags, checked bags, or cargo. All aircraft in the US operate under federal laws and regulation, and the transport of marijuana by air is prohibited.
Canada: Yes, but only if the aircraft is on a domestic flight within Canada.
Can I mail or ship my marijuana before I get on the plane?
US: No. Federal law prohibits sending marijuana through the mail or through shipping services like FedEx and UPS. All aircraft in the US operate under federal laws and regulation, and the transport of marijuana by air is prohibited.
Canada: Yes. Marijuana can be mailed in Canada, but only to addresses within Canada.
Can I have my marijuana delivered by drone?
US: No. US federal law prohibits aircraft operators, including operators of drones, from carrying marijuana on that aircraft. This would be the case even if you are using your own personal drone. There are a number of US federal laws and regulations related to marijuana, many of which have potentially severe penalties for both the drone operator and the marijuana customer.
Canada: Other than crossing international borders, there are no specific restrictions on flying marijuana on a drone use other than the laws and regulations regarding recreational and commercial drone operations.
Can I fly after consuming marijuana?
US and Canada: Yes, but it may not be a good idea. While US and Canadian laws don’t prohibit passengers from flying under the influence of drugs, if you are intoxicated, your airline may prevent you from boarding your aircraft. Also, if you fly while intoxicated, you may not be able to react appropriately in emergency situations, and your behavior may be affected in a way that makes you a hazard to crew members and other passengers.
Because some forms of marijuana, particularly edible marijuana products, may take a while before the intoxicating effects are evident, if you consume marijuana shortly before getting on board, you may become intoxicated during the flight.
Can I smoke marijuana in a designated airport smoking area?
US: No. These smoking areas are public areas for smoking of tobacco products, not marijuana. Also, the states that do allow the consumption of marijuana typically prevent users from doing so in public view, including areas where the public is allowed to smoke of tobacco products.
Canada: Maybe. It will depend on the local laws and regulations.
Can I consume marijuana at the airport if I am not smoking it?
US and Canada: That will depend on the local laws applicable at that airport.
What is considered out of the public view at the airport?
US and Canada: That is up to the interpretation of the law enforcement organizations at that particular airport, and whether there are restrictions on the use of marijuana on airport property.
Can I fly with medical marijuana if I have a prescription?
US: No. Federal law does not allow any kind of marijuana, whether it is medical or recreational marijuana, on airliners or in the secure parts of the airport terminal (beyond the TSA screening stations), and it does not matter if you have a prescription for medical marijuana.
Canada: Yes, but only if the aircraft is on a domestic flight within Canada. Medical marijuana is treated the same as recreational marijuana, and is also not allowed on any international flight to or from Canada.
Am I allowed to fly into an airport with marijuana?
US: No. The US government does not allow marijuana aboard airliners, so if you have somehow managed to bring marijuana with you on your inbound flight, you have broken the law, and may be subject to arrest and prosecution by federal authorities.
Canada: Yes, but only if the flight was a domestic flight entirely within Canada.
Are non-citizens allowed to travel from overseas to consume marijuana?
US: Maybe. If your stated purpose of travel, either upon entry or when applying for a visa, is to consume or purchase marijuana, then you may be refused entry on your current trip and restricted from entry in the future. If the purpose of our visit is for another reason, once you enter the US, you are allowed to purchase and consume only in those states where it is legal to do so.
Canada: Yes. While there is no restriction on the part of Canadian authorities, you may be in violations of the laws or regulations of your home country, or of any country you enter after leaving Canada.
Can I enter or leave the country carrying marijuana-related items?
US: Maybe. Federal law prohibits the importation or export of any drug paraphernalia used to consume marijana. If you are not a US citizen, US authorities may confiscate items that are not not directly related to the use or production marijuana, for example clothing depicting marijuana plants.
Canada: Yes. So long as any items contain no trace of marijuana residue. Keep in mind that there may be restrictions in the country you departed prior to entering Canada.
Carrying seeds in your luggage on a plane
I read a few days ago (cant find the post back unfortunately) that somebody managed to travel with 20 – 30 seeds put in his jeans pockets, spread over the whole area of his suitcase.
I will also be doing the same very soon, and will travel while spreading them in a few pockets in my checked in luggage. My question is, do you keep the original packaging or are the seeds removed from vacuum packaging before being put in the pockets?
Advice is much appreciated and also if you have any other ideas on how to carry them would be great. I am only going to have 10-15 seeds maximum.
I recently went to the Caribbean and had no trouble with seeds in my carry on/backpack. They were not in any packaging though. I use one dram vials to store them and had them all together. Easily over 50 seeds.
Coming back to California, I was gifted at least 200+ seeds all from a 30+ year veteran grower. There was NO way I was going to leave them behind. Everything passed through TSA and xray with no problem both ways. Enjoy and keep hunting!!
Could always go buy a pack of seeds from the store and trade them out. TSA don’t know what’s what and I doubt they smell as long as there’s no flowers mixed in. Or mail them.
Do not put anything in your checked bag. If the search it they will take them. I’ve never traveled with beans, I fly all over with rolled joints in my carry on though. I’ve never had a problem ever. Tsa does not care for cannabis or beans. If you’re nervous put them inside a pen. Do not walk through the scanner with anything in your pockets let alone beans. You’re more apt to be stopped if you have things in your pockets. They have no idea what cannabis seeds are to apple seeds. If you do ever get stopped which you wont. Do not advertise that the are cannabis beans. Too them they could be apple seeds. You will be a ok my friend. Just do not act special when you’re going through security and you will be fine. If they do take the beans if traveling internationally it’s because you did not declare them in customs. You have to claim agricultural items through customs and usually they do not allow anything because they are afraid that it could bring unwanted bacteria etc into the country. Best bet is to put them in a carry on, act normal and keep a zip on the lip. You will be just fine. I’ve been bringing joints with me on flights both domestic and international for years, way before it was decriminalized or legalized in any state or other country. Never once even gotten a look let alone a search. Or just mail them back. It’s very simple. Plus if it’s a gift under 25 bucks you dont uave to pay import on the package. Put them in a box with a t shirt and send that bitch off and you will be fine!
Back in the early 1980s we took 15 grams of hash from Canada over the border by car to help us enjoy our canoe/camping tripping among the Georgian and Florida alligators. My brother hid it in his mouth (seriously). We hoped he wouldn’t be forced to swallow that huge chunk. Lol
Honestly now that I’m older I’d never risk it again. The backwards USA is very strict at the border. I have a career that 3 years in an American prison would seriously interfere with. Not to mention, my wife might be a bit freaked out over it. I’ve heard stories (yeah just stories) that people have lost their cars and freedom while having a few seeds in their ashtray in their car, or a dirty hash pipe hidden under the seat. When you visit backwards, socially undeveloped countries, your best bet is to obey their rules completely when you enter and while you’re there.
Seeds aren’t illegal in the USA. If you’re flying in to the USA with seeds, you’re best off declaring them with customs. If you’re caught lying, there’s a penalty.
It is my understanding that viable cannabis seeds are NOT legal in the USA according to federal law.
I’d think declaring them at US customs would surely get them confiscated.
I have no personal experience with this, so I could be wrong.
This scheduling and definition seems to me absolutely ridiculous.
We cannot afford to let outdated and unjust laws dictate our freedoms and rights.
Lets all make sure we vote to change this any chance we get, as well as supporting our domestic seed producers and sellers here in the USA.
21 U.S.C. § 812 – U.S. Code – Unannotated Title 21. Food and Drugs § 812. Schedules of controlled substances –
Schedule I – (C)- (10) Marihuana
21 U.S.C. § 802 – U.S. Code – Unannotated Title 21. Food and Drugs § 802. Definitions
(16) The term “marihuana” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin. Such term does not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.
In addition to hemp seed being legal, thc bearing seed for novelty, fishing, bait, animal food (non-germination) is legal.
Thanks for the link However these are the required provisions for said import. – from your link :
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates the importation of all seeds for planting to ensure safe agricultural trade. Under this authority, USDA is providing an alternative way for the safe importation of hemp seeds into the United States.
Hemp seeds can be imported into the United States from Canada if accompanied by either: 1.) a phytosanitary certification from Canada’s national plant protection organization to verify the origin of the seeds and confirm that no plant pests are detected; or 2.) a Federal Seed Analysis Certificate (SAC, PPQ Form 925) for hemp seeds grown in Canada.
Hemp seeds can be imported into the United States from other countries if accompanied by:
1.)a phytosanitary certificate from the exporting country’s national plant protection organization to verify the origin of the seeds and confirm that no plant pests are detected.
Hemp seed shipments may be inspected upon arrival at the first port of entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to ensure USDA regulations are met, including certification and freedom from plant pests.
Ive never received these certs ordering from Euro, UK or Canada.
Which is why you still get the green tape and seeds confiscated if CBP catches your order to the USA. And declaring it without proper paperwork at the airport customs would probably have the same results.
Have you a link to any more info from your comment? “In addition to hemp seed being legal, thc bearing seed for novelty, fishing, bait, animal food (non-germination) is legal.”
Thanks, appreciate the updated info.