Aug 082010
 August 8, 2010

Flying MMJFederal TSA Regulations Allow Marijuana On Planes

I flew the friendly skies with a 3 foot pot plant, a female in pre-flowering mode, and yes, this really happened…My flight left Missoula on the 28th of July, and I carried my 2 foot long Gandalf and my 1 ounce of marijuana with me, out in open, uncovered, from Missoula, thru Denver, and on to Michigan — Detroit. Going thru security in Missoula was quite easy, the head of the TSA had never seen a medical marijuana card, so she called the local Missoula airport police, and they confirmed that I was a legal patient, and let me board.

In Michigan, a patient gave me a female plant that smelled nice, barely flowering, only a few pistil hairs showing. I decided to try and see what the general perspective of medical marijuana was with the police and TSA, with our federal government and flying with cannabis. At 5:00 AM, going through airport security with the plant, the Gandalf and about a half ounce of marijuana, the TSA asked to see my medical marijuana card…and that was it. I carried the plant high in one hand, uncovered, next to my pipe, uncovered, and while most people didn’t even see the plant, concerned with their travels, about 15% of every person, especially pilots, noticed the plant, taking a triple-take. About 1/6th of them stopped me and asked me if that was really what they thought it was. And of course, I told them it was a medical marijuana plant, to which they were amazed and didn’t know what to say. Many of them were very happy about the lack of prosecution for me and my medicine and were glad that our government is relaxing prohibition.

6:00AM, on the plane, in seat 13B, the plane was scheduled to depart, but the police had been called and wanted to ask me a few questions. So United Express delayed departure for 30 minutes, while the police verified my medical marijuana status, called the police in Chicago O’Hare Int’l, and verified that all was well. It was. Getting back on the plane, yielded cheers and claps, and passengers were relieved, not only to take off, but that the airlines and airport police had allowed an actual live medical marijuana plant onboard.

When we landed in Chicago, there were two police officers waiting for me. They pulled me off to the side, verifying all my information, while I politely spoke to him about it, and waited while he confirmed his information…which appears to be…that when travelling, according to the airport police in Michigan, Seattle, and O’Hare Int’l, as long as a patient does not leave the terminal, they are not in the jurisdiction of the local state’s laws regarding marijuana. And as long as the origination and destination locations are both medical marijuana friendly, it is okay to fly with medical cannabis.

The Chicago police escorted me to the next gate for Missoula, but I missed my flight and had to be rebooked through Seattle…which didn’t take long, and we were on our way. There was not much commotion on the flight to Seattle, except, like on the last flight from Detroit to Chicago, everyone, including the stewards, took pictures of my plant and I on the plane, stating that they had never seen this before.

Upon arriving in Seattle, our flight to Missoula was cancelled, so we had to wait another 5 hours for a plane from Seattle to Missoula. So, in pain, I approached Duty Manager, Debra McGee, and explained my need to use my medicine, but that I was unable to leave the terminal. I told her about my digital Volcano vaporizer and that it’s not fire, flame, combustion, or particulate matter, in other words, it’s not smoking. Unsure, she called Sergeant Addison who explained that Seattle Airport Police have a ‘hands off’ policy with medical marijuana cardholders. She told me that I was approved to use my medical marijuana, via vaporizer, but asked me to not share it with others. I agreed. There were only about 30 people in the large 4-gate waiting area, part of the A series of gates. I plugged in the vaporizer, ground up marijuana, put it in the holder, and vaped 5 bags of cannabis, relieving my pain and experiencing the end of prohibition — I no longer feel fear, because I choose to use the medicine that brings me the relief I need to live and be productive every day.

I was travelling with one of the folks who works here at MCN, and as we went to the gate: C14, for our final flight home, during the wait, I vaporized a few bags of marijuana, while the plane was boarding, open and in public. Many people barely noticed that I was using marijuana, or had a live plant with me, but a few did, and I had a few interesting conversations. Generally, what appears to be happening, is that our countries’ citizens no longer feel the need to point out my medical cannabis use, unlike a card-holder who reproached me for smoking a bowl as soon as I got out of the terminal at the Missoula airport. He said that my using my medicine in public, was going to ruin it for the whole country!

How silly is that!? I just flew 3,500 miles, with pot, a plant on our national airlines, and ingested medical marijuana, in public, and carried marijuana, through an airport, in a state without a medical cannabis act. I think he is wrong. I think I will not ruin it for everyone. I believe what Gandhi said, “Be the change, you wish to see in the world”. And a certain president Roosevelt said that we have nothing to fear, except fear itself. Today, I have jet lag, and am tired, a little out of it, but the feeling of freedom that I have experienced by living what I believe leaves me without words. Yet I will say that I have a new respect for our country’s founding fathers, because the system is working. I was polite and transparent with everyone who was involved, TSA, police, airline personnel, and they all treated me in the same way.

They all understood and I am looking forward to the next time I fly the friendly skies, to a state with a medical marijuana act, because I will bring back more than one 3 foot plant that is in flowering mode. And now that I know I can use my medicine, as long as I let them know, I no longer have fear pain, or airline problems, cancellations and delays.

Here are Tips for Flying with Medical Marijuana, According to the Newsletter Author:

Remember to have your card and your driver’s license with you WITH MATCHING ADDRESS!!! Do NOT check your medicine. When TSA handles your checked baggage, they are technically in possession of it which is illegal if they do not have a card. Try to book connections in other medical states. If the flight it rerouted, there is nothing you can do to control it, but please respect the current laws in other states. When questioned, be cool and remember you are not some juvenile exploiting a privilege, nor a criminal with something to hide; you are a suffering patient and not only is it necessary but it is also YOUR RIGHT for you to possess and use this medicine. Know the laws for the states you are travelling to better than law enforcement. This usually just requires one intensive read-through. Carrying a copy of the laws and any supporting rules is a good idea to show a skeptical agent. Be firm about your rights but do not brag. It’s ok to be a little bit of a pain in the ass about having your medicine with you. Many sick people’s attitudes have been interpreted as nuisances by the less compassionate.

About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • miggy420

    A beautiful story that brings hope for common sense to a nation.

  • http://www.mayhem.net zhn0k

    COOL STORY!

  • Matthew

    Awesome story. I believe you increased public awareness and acceptance of marijuana.

  • jaime

    can i fly to manilla from san francisco with an ounce of weed

    • Kapre

      You better finish that before you land. Police in the Philippines do not treat marijuana lightly. Besides, it’s cheap and plentiful there anyway. less than $15 per ounce…

  • Sara

    You were the change I wish to see in the world…thanks.

  • E.J.

    I LOVED reading this story!! Thank you for posting, this is the change in our nation that I have been dreaming for… God Bless

  • Logan Hogan

    Yes this is a wonderful story. for someone fortunate enough to be flying from a free state to a free state. I unfortunately do not live in a Medical Marijuana state, yet I suffer from a Pancreatic condition that leaves me dependent on medical Marijuana to live. it reduces my pain, cramps, nausea, sour stomach oh did I say cramps? with a related form of malabsorption it helps with appetite and keeps my weight up. I am traveling by plane soon and am so worried of getting busted with my medicine. since my state has no Medical card and most states require Residency to qualify, I will not have one for my flight. the state I am traveling to has a new law for medical use but no out of state applicants are welcome. without medical Marijuana I would not even consider traveling anywhere. The last thing I need in my condition on my vacation is the stress of being locked up and charged with illegal Drug possession, I hope it changes nation even Worldwide soon. I feel most sorry for the people in Pain that have not discovered the medicinal use of Marijuana and those that refuse to take it even though it could help them. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope that this becomes the norm, so that we may hear more uplifting stories like this in the future.

  • Randy

    What a crazy amazing idea that
    unveiled our countries shift in how
    we view our freedom. God Bless
    America.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/25U5ZJTPJBDOJ5SOBW4NR7MOKI Joshua

    THIS IS USEFUL! I’m planning to have a small/old friend visit in London soon with my medicine and this is the great story to share. Frighten-alike feeling indeed! Thank you, Johnny.

  • Doriel5

    What an awesome story to read first thing in the morning. Don’t think I have the balls to do it (literally) but wish I did & with a big plant too! I will be smiling all day now! Live it! Good for you!!!!

    • Dori

      Love it!!! (I hate texting!)

  • BetweenMadness

    Great article eh

  • Matt

    Great Article, Mad Props. I never knew that this day would come, and that transporting marijuana on airplanes would be possible. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VXSXNX5QLAZHY7G4ACGTHKJDFA WaterBoy

    Excellent story and learning experience. Once people are educated and understand people’s condition, they’ll realize it’s something very helpful to millions of people.

  • arthur

    brought a tear to my eye and an irrepressible smile to my face. couldnt be more proud to see this change coming in our country.

  • dawimy

    A medical marijuana plant…

    You know, as opposed to the non-medical variety…

    You people…

    JOKES

    /facepalm

  • fsdgssg

    I just bought my medical card today. It cost me 90$ just for a six month permit, but it feels freeing knowing that neither i nor the rest of the world looks upon me with any guilt for enjoying my marijuana or the medical and psychological benefits it gives me. I suffer from PTSD and a very traumatic past… In the past i had panic attacks, anxiety attacks on the severe end. Some days i would have more than 4 in a day. I was prescribed a variety of medications, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines… well, pretty much all of them except the benzos caused more harm then good and had a reverse effect on my mood making the symptoms worse.

    After tapering off all of them but the benzos, i started smoking marijuana. The calming effect even on an occasional basis actually cured my anxiety–and not only temporarily! After tapering off the benzos now too I have even quit smoking marijuana for extended periods of time… The PTSD still takes its toll, at times without it i have insomnia, nightmares and sleep paralysis… the marijuana helps me sleep at night and for actually a little less than what a months worth of sleeping pills would cost! Since i have a vaporizer, it conserves my money and saves my lungs! Not only does it space an eighth (about 40$ of weed around here) out over a month, it saves me from the carcinogens that cause lung cancer since only the trichromes are vaporized. Not only can i be sure i’m not giving myself lung cancer–i’m practically vaccinating myself for it! CBD, one of the main active chemicals in marijuana, has recently been found to inhibit cancer cell growth–stopping cancer from spreading and probably proving a good amount of protection against any new cancers from occurring.

    Did i mention the “side effects” somehow are all just symptoms i’d like to be cured? Insomnia? An indica will knock me out when i want to sleep. Hyperacidity causing me stomach problems with a loss off appetite–I’m prescribed “pantoprazole” for the acid… I don’t know any other medication out there that can make me hungry again! Loss of semantic memory? –i dont mind it! Better that then PTSD’ed out with an oversized hypothalamus! Whats more–weed cures my memory problems! A common symptom of PSTD is blocking out memories and they’ve all been flooding back, and whats more, they don’t hold the same fear they once did.

    I’ve also been having night terrors–disrupted REM sleep due to nightmares, where i wake up and see dreams in the outside world around me for a moment, paralyzed. I saw a fucking skeleton with glowing green and pink eyes grin at me and i leaped out of bed. One time I felt someone in the bed next to me and i could hear lots of voices speaking around me, but i couldn’t make out what they were saying or move an inch. I’ve had nightmares of being raped, murdered, framed and thrown in jail, one time i had a snake living in my stomach and i met a doctor in a grocery store who said i was going to die and my mother was like “fuck this shit, just let him die, he’s a piece of shit anyway” and the doctor was like “whelp, dude, i couuulldd but nah i dont really give a shit about you, good luck dying and shit”. I’ve had some even more bizarre nightmares like a prison video game and getting whacked italian mob style by my best friend… Never once when i smoked the night before.

    So yeah, everyone who’s ever dealt with any kind of illness knows theres always a huge relief to find that one “miracle cure”. For me, that was cannabis. The sheer ridiculous amount of symptoms it treats for a variety of ailments alone is enough to make it that. Being high, that great feeling and the sensations it brings, is just an added bonus. Taking every precaution to do it safely and legally is just the responsibility that comes with the benefits! I am not going to ruin my lungs and like any functioning adult, i use in moderation for my safety and well being. Just as you would not go out and get drunk before work, i do not go get high before i need to function. Sometimes i will use it when i need to brainstorm new ideas, draw, or create art as it aids with my creative processes… In fact, i am an artist, so this helps me a lot. But i do this in my own time, on my own schedule, not at work or school. I make great efforts to do this is a time and place that is acceptable for work, society, and well being, and this gives me a great deal of relief and happiness. If you do not agree with this, fine, do not ask your doctor to prescribe you with this medication. But if you have a problem with ME being able to do so, just know that fighting for it to be illegal is fighting AGAINST my relief, my well being, and my happiness, as well as other people like me. I don’t try and stop you from believing that this plant is somehow evil, what you do is your own business. But america was founded on the basis of EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, not uniformity. just as i dont force you to consume marijuana, don’t force to live without it. Thank you.

  • Luciferin420

    This is tight AF perfectly worded and thanks for the advice. My only question is what are the laws in the air? As most know Feds fly in planes undercover and as most people wouldn’t happen to pick up a plant and fly with er or hopefully show off their weed, but say a fed stands up and says sucks to stone because you’re under federal law in flight?

  • excitment

    I’ve got my medical card flying from California to new Jersey can I take my medicine less than an oz

  • bo66095

    I am a producer of different varies of hash oil that is good for cancer,brain tumor,insomia and others illness.here is

    what i have available on stock.

    Hash Oil,

    Honey Comb Wax Oil

    Wax Oil

    Cannabis Oil

    BUTANE OIL

    AFGHANI OIL

    -Hemp Oil Essential Fatty Acid

    -Kosher Organic Cold Pressed Hemp Oil 8 OZ

    -honey oil

    -CANNABIS OIL

    -Black oil

    -Indian oil

    WEEDS ON STOCK

    -Lemon Kush………………Grade: AA

    -Master Kush……………..Grade: AA

    -Bubba Kush………………Grade:A+ Top Shelf

    -Grand Daddy Purple ……Grade: A

    -OG kush…………………Grade:A+ Top Shelf

    -Green Crack……………. Grade: AA

    -Ak-47……………………Grade: AA

    -Blueberry………………..Grade: AA

    -White Widow……………Grade:A+ Top Shelf

    -Bubbleberry……………..Grade: A

    -Sour Diesel……………..Grade:A+ Top Shelf

    -Snow white…………….Grade: AAA

    -I offer discreet and reliable packaging and delivery.

    -fast and reliable shipment within 48 hours, using courier service, dhl, ems, fedex ups

    CONTACT INFORMATION

    email sallymae156@gmail.com

    Cell:970 279 1721

    • hempfestival

      what do you use cannabis oil for ?? …. do you have any cannabis tincture to drink like with tea ?

  • hempfestival

    it even will get better once other states, including MA and CA legalize under 1oz of marijuana. it would be easier on airports in near future.