Flying With Marijuana: It's Not Okay, Despite a TSA Website Glitch | Westword

Ask a Stoner: Did TSA Just Okay Flying With Medical Marijuana?

A few weeks ago, it looked like TSA had okayed flying with medical marijuana. But as our Stoner discovers, pot is still grounded.
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Dear Stoner:
I’m about to get on a flight, and I hear that TSA has changed its rules about allowing you to carry on marijuana. What’s up with that?
Flying High

Dear Flying High: You heard wrong, sadly. In an April 5 article on MassRoots, Tom Angell reported this: “It’s official: The federal government doesn’t care if you bring medical marijuana on airplanes.” Angell had noticed that the “What can I bring?” page on TSA’s website had changed the red “No” next to checked and carry-on baggage for medical marijuana to a green “Yes.” He quickly took a screen shot of the page and wrote an article, and just as quickly, TSA’s Twitter replied with this: “@cannaadvisors: We’re sorry for any confusion. A mistake was made in the database of our new ‘What can I bring?’ tool.” TSA’s web page also changed the “Yes” back to “No” under medical marijuana. To Angell’s credit, he updated the article as TSA corrected itself. But confusion remains.

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A sign in a California airport reminds travelers how bad weed is.
Flickr user Cory Doctorow
Even though TSA abides by federal law, that doesn’t mean that agents are looking that hard for marijuana. As the website notes: “TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other drugs. In the event a substance that appears to be marijuana is observed during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.” But the law enforcement contacted is local law enforcement, not federal, so if you happen to fly in-state and that state has legalized marijuana, then no laws are being broken. You’re not transporting a federally illegal substance across state lines, so it’s basically like driving from Denver to Telluride with weed, which is perfectly legal.

Have a question for our Stoner? E-mail [email protected] or call the potline at 303-­293-­2222.

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