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Although marijuana may be legal for recreational use in some states, and for medicinal purposes in many more, taking marijuana products on a plane can still result in serious criminal penalties. After all, the friendly skies are governed by federal law, and federal law isn't friendly with marijuana.
While it has been widely reported that some airports, like LAX, are more lenient than others in the legal weed states, the inconvenience and risk of traveling with marijuana just isn't worth it. If TSA finds marijuana, even in a state where it is legal, they still must contact local law enforcement. This means you will be detained, and will likely be forced to throw your marijuana away -- if you’re lucky.
Examples of travelers getting busted taking legal pot to states where it is not legal are pretty easy to come by. Just recently, an air traveler coming from Los Angeles landed in Nashville with 99 marijuana vape cartridges and a few ounces of actual marijuana. He was promptly searched and arrested, and is now facing felony drug charges.
And even though TSA has a pretty poor reputation for spotting drugs and weapons, the potential for federal drug charges is very real, and could be very costly, both in time and money. If you're traveling within a legal marijuana state or from one to another, you can simply obtain marijuana when you get to your destination rather than risk a federal criminal prosecution.
For travelers of any kind, leaving your legally purchased marijuana in the state where it was purchased is the only sure way to ensure you don't get in trouble for taking it across state lines, whether by plane, train, or automobile. Even traveling in a car between two states that allow marijuana possession violates federal law.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.