You Can Now Bring Marijuana Aboard Airplanes?

Despite marijuana becoming legal to use in 21 states, it is still prohibited on airplanes, except in cases were it is medically prescribed.

By Ryan Clancy | Published

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Marijuana is frequently being made legal in various states, but how about when you are flying? As twenty-two states have made it legal for adults over the age of twenty-one to smoke marijuana, and thirty-seven states have implemented the use of medical marijuana; travelers are getting optimistic that traveling with the drug on airplanes may come into effect. While people are becoming more liberal about the use of the drug, it is still technically illegal under Federal law.

But with state and federal laws conflicting, it is not that simple. If marijuana is legal in both the departing and arriving destination, then it should be ok, but nothing is that straightforward. There are overlapping jurisdictions and guidelines that are difficult for local law enforcement to implement. 

Even though President Biden is currently reviewing laws surrounding marijuana, it is still illegal by Federal law, so at the moment, you cannot fly with it in your possession as air travel is within federal law. It is still classified as a Schedule I substance, so there is no accepted medical use, even though its medical use can be passed in thirty states. Federal and state laws conflict once again. 

In airports, staff are seeing a high number of passengers trying to take marijuana on holiday with them, and most arrests that have been made involve people having an amount of the drug that would definitely be considered personal use. 

But the laws arent so stringent for prescribed marijuana. Medical marijuana is allowed in carry-on and checked bags as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent THC at its dry weight or a type approved by the FDA. Most airport workers would not ask to see a medical marijuana card unless the amount was substantial or the jurisdiction in which the passenger was traveling with marijuana was illegal. 

While that is great for people who use marijuana for medical use, walking through an airport with it can still be daunting. But the TSA is not interested in searching for drugs within the security checks; they are looking for potential threats to passengers or flights. 

The TSA isn’t actively looking for illegal substances, but if they find a drug that exceeds local limits or is illegal in that state or country, they will call local police. Some airports give travelers the opportunity to discard their drugs before they go through security. These amnesty boxes are highly prevalent in Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. 

While it is unlikely that you will be able to fly with any marijuana unless it is prescribed by a medical professional, can you smoke the drug before you fly? Within the contract of the carriage handbook, it states that intoxicated travelers should not fly. If a passenger is being a safety hazard to themselves or others, they can be denied any access to the airplane. All these rules also apply to traveling internationally as well as domestically. 

While the world is getting more lenient towards marijuana, there is still a long way to go before it is entirely legal.