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Since pot is legal now, can I fly with it?

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Our state has legalized marijuana. The current administration pardoned many simple marijuana possessions. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration legalized CBD products with less than 0.3% THC. As a Golden State resident, it probably looks like pot is fully legal now at all levels, which brings up the question on whether you can travel with it.

Can I fly with it?

No. Marijuana is still a Schedule 1 illegal narcotic federally, and since air travel is regulated by the federal government, marijuana is illegal on airplanes.

Does that mean I will be arrested?

In California, no. Transportation Security Administration officers do not enforce drug laws as they are not commissioned law enforcement officers. They cannot arrest you. They can only detain you for an arrest by a commissioned law enforcement agency, like airport or local police. However, if those entities do not recognize the federal criminal infraction as a local infraction, like marijuana possession, the TSA officer will not detain you.

What happens if they find pot?

You cannot fly with it. As such, if the TSA officer finds it on you or your belongings, they will ask you to throw it away. If you refuse, they will not allow you to pass the security checkpoint, and you will not make your flight. However, if you do dispose of it, they generally will let you proceed.

Context

Nonetheless, for context, TSA agents are not looking for drugs. Their dogs are not even trained to sniff them out. If they find it on you or in your bags, it may be incidental to their search.

This is not to say that you cannot have so much pot on you that it would not rise to the level of a federal referral, only that TSA generally defers to local rules and laws. If you find yourself testing these limits, and face Gold River, California, drug charges, you need to take them seriously. Ask for a lawyer immediately and do not answer any questions.