Sep 252010
 September 25, 2010

Marijuana airplaneBack in August, after hearing about people flying from Montana to Michigan with medical marijuana, I contacted the Federal Transportation Security Administration to see what the official rules were. Here are the questions I asked:

“It is my understanding that medical marijuana patients can now fly with their medicine. Is this correct? If so, I have a few questions. Are the policy/guidelines online anywhere so I can read them? Also, what destinations are ok? I heard you have to be departing and have a final arrival in a medical marijuana state, but what if the destination state does not have a reciprocal agreement with other state programs? How much medicine can you take on the plane? Is it the limit of the state you are departing from, or the arriving state, or the lesser of the two?? Thanks in advance.”

This was their response that I received recently:

“Thank you for your e-mail concerning the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) policy for allowing passengers with State authorized cards to bring marijuana onboard commercial airlines.

Although TSA has no regulations addressing possession and transportation of marijuana, possessing marijuana in any detectable amount is a crime under Federal law. Further, it is a crime under the laws of many States to possess or transport marijuana.

In the course of screening passengers and their belongings for prohibited items (weapons, explosives, and other objects that may pose a risk to aviation security), Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) sometimes discover marijuana or other items that are illegal under State and Federal laws. When this occurs, TSA’s standard operating procedures require TSOs to report evidence of potential crimes to law enforcement authorities. It is up to the responding law enforcement officer, not our TSOs, to evaluate the circumstances and decide whether to arrest a passenger or confiscate the illegal item.

TSOs must contact a law enforcement officer when marijuana is discovered because (1) possessing marijuana is a crime under Federal law, and (2) TSOs cannot make an independent determination as to whether a passenger’s documentation is sufficient to authorize possession of marijuana under State law. Law enforcement officers must be contacted even if a passenger is carrying a State-issued cannabis card or other documentation indicating that the marijuana is for medical purposes.

TSA Contact Center”

To sum up: it’s up to the local police. I would advise contacting them ahead of time to let them know that you are coming, and be very upfront about your intentions. I have had friends do that, and they were blown away by how cooperative the police were. Of course, they were only flying with small amounts, so that might make a difference when compared to flying with a pound. The amount you can take is dependent upon where you are going to and where you are coming from. If you don’t exceed either state’s limits, then you should be alright! I can’t wait to fly to Montana and visit my buddy with some Oregon nugs!

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.
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  • Pogosaurus

    What do you think? That TSA is going to let a little thing like compassion stand in the way of our omnipotent federal government? Oh come on now! Federal law is exactly that. No one is going to budge on that issue. Dems, Republicans, and probably lots who call themselves Libertarians are too well seated, or otherwise afraid of taking an honest, logical stand on the prohibition issue to make any progress toward legalization.

    I have a lifetime’s worth of urine for Harry Anslinger’s grave. Shall we moisten it already?

    The ‘saurus

  • Chataqua-GNT

    Moisten it hell!
    We should dig him up and stick a big ole Fatty up the decomposed Ying Yang then reburry him face down.
    Only for the shear fact of when the Fatty disappears, we will all have a place to park our bicycles!

    Just my opinion

  • Pogosaurus

    Thanks, but I’ll just lean mine up against a tree and save the reefer. Besides, that racist, self-serving mofo doesn’t deserve to have Nature’s blessing anywhere near whatever’s left of his rotten ass. We could pound a wooden stob up his butt instead, It would decay more slowly though. Better yet, I hunted down and ate a HUGE, greasy mammoth this morning (bones an’ all). If we’re gonna dig him up anyway, I’ll just take an enormous Mesozoic shit on his face. Then we can roll him over and plug his ass with whatever bike-parking apparatus you wish.


  • Andy

    If you can fly w/ Oxycodone (a much more toxic substance) then you should be allowed to fly w/ MMJ. Period.

    • Wise One

      Oxy is a GOLD MINE and its inventors are in bed with the feds… If you can get a prescrip and buy it at rite aid, then it can go in your carry on… If you got a prescrip from a hippy in santa cruz and you bring it into an airport (which is now like a DMZ run by our own fed thugs) you will be held, charged and fkd with for some time, and by the way, have your photo and ssn put into yet another DB for further butt fkg….

  • Ted

    Just call the airport’s local police and ask before you fly. Oregon’s Jackson county airport does not allow ANY Marijuana what so ever.

  • BIGnate

    im flying to chicago from ontario CA, i called airport police and the chief said to let security know before they screen my carryon bag. Then they will call him or a deputy over to verify my card and paper. then i will be free to go. BUT the chief did say my doctor should have a perscription LIMIT(like how much the patient needs?) i never heard that one, im only bringing a few cookies,a gram of hash, and a 1/2 oz. of bubba kush———-im still nervous about the whole thing–any comments fellow 420ians?

    • miggy420

      Good luck, please let us know how it goes.

    • MrMagnifique

      BIGnate, I just came from Ontario CA, looks like a fun town. I went thought LAX with an oz, chatted up the TSA agents as I left, no problem. And for limits, I’m starting to work for a collective, so I expect to pass a lot of pot through Ontario CA, so if you hear of anyone getting arrested, that’s gonna be me.

      • MrMagnifique

        I put it all in my carry on btw

  • HappyKnees

    Just called Sacramento County Sheriff and they won’t let Medical Cannibus through the security checkpoint for carry on. When I asked about packing it in my checked baggage they referred me to Sacrament TSA office who said that it is not allowed on checked baggage due to Federal Laws, REGARDLESS of medical cards or reciprocating law in destination state! Looks like my vacation is not going to be very enjoyable after all!

    • riley

      Well that’s some sour piss.. I was hoping to leave town for PHX with 2.5 oz tomorrow morning..

    • Baddzach

       Fly out of SFO or OAK. I flew out of SFO with about 2 grams in my bag with my small glass pipe and they didn’t even stop me for further search. I just got a dirty look by the tsa scanner lady and kept on my way. I had my recommendation in hand ready to defend myself but it wasn’t needed.

      • Baddzach

         actually 4 grams and two roaches. i forgot i had those. smoked too much today. there is also a nice little hidden garden at sfo that nobody knows about that you can secretly medicate at. only problem is the dog park around the corner which the sfpd airport take their dogs to. one almost jumped over the fence at me. lol.

  • Logan5

    I live in a state that does not allow medical use, but due to a serious Pancreas condition I need daily vapor just to live. I am planning a trip to NYC soon and must have my MMJ with me for the trip or I will end up sick and unable to eat. I am flying to Jersey and ending up in NYC. as I recall NJ has a new medical use policy. but not sure of NYC. since my state does not, I assume I must smuggle what I need past them first? but since I have no medical card to speak of what do I do when I get to Jersey? it will be over a weekend and unlikely to get a Doc to issue me a card. I want to enjoy my 3 days away, not be arrested for possession.

  • Robert

    I plan on flying from the Bay Area down south to San Diego…want to bring a few candy bars….you think they would even be detected on the scanner if I carry them on?

    • zack white

      I need trustworthy connection for THC oils for vaporizer, I live in WI where its not legal so need U to package accordingly.

  • Connie

    I am flying from California to Washington state and would like to bring some hard candies and lotion with cannabis I need for chronic pain. Should I pack them in my suitcase or bring as a carry on? I called Alaska Airlines and they said I can bring them. Should I notify anyone in the airport ahead of time?

  • anne spoon

    My son and I are flying from SJ CA to Lihue HI in two days. He has a card in Calif. Can he fly with his medicine? He says hash is legal with his card…is it?

  • Msr

    Was visiting CA and I have Multiple Sclerosis! Felt like nerves were coming out of skin so saw doctor who gave me certificate that stated I would benefit from medicinal use! Since that time have see studies done that showed that it actually prevents immune attracts of MS. If I fly from CA is there any particular airport it would be easier to fly from on West Coast to East Coast. And what would best way to prevent problems?

    • Mitchell

      Call and check on the local laws before you fly and carry. The best way to get it past the TSA (or any cop for that mater) is to use the same procedure they use in the prison system to get cannabis into the prisons, wrap it real tightly with plastic wrap and stick it up your butt. 1 oz of cleaned cannabis can be reduced down to the size of a roll of quarters.

  • tech5353

    sacromento airport / sacromento sherriff’s officer on duty @ airport stated put a small amount(once or less) in check bag and your documetation.oh and your destination state must also be a medical marijuana state.

  • tech5353

    TSA in SAC is missinformed-didnt even know that tsa refers you to sherriff. has to go in you check bag and dont involve TSA. it’s what the airport sherriff on duty told me today.

  • Pamela Glenn

    I have a medical card I live in Oregon and flying to California how do I travel with my meds?

  • Nan

    Im a calif medical card carrier. Im planning to travel to Missouri in november and hawaii in april. What can i take. Pills, candies, edibels. .???

  • Nick

    I’ve done it out of LAX to SFO, did not have any problems. Edibles are always a plus, unless you have packaging that is clearly labelled.


    Need THC oil

    • Noah Dove

      I can make it, but im in cali =)

  • Abe Gold

    Had 2 grams fall out of my pants at the feet of a TSA inspector about 6 years ago. I put it in my pocket and nothing was said, thought I was paranoid as hell, nothing happened.

  • scot

    Be careful going to missouri. They are not so nice with pot. Take a hash pen.

  • Rockstar169

    Allthough Im a cad carrying medical cannabis patient and have for 13 years this year I flew from Medford Or to L.A X.I had an ounce in a seal a meal between my nads,even when they used the full body camera it was never detected but they found a pipe in my man bag they made a big deal about it but I was in Oregon not Cali where my card and Im from.But they asked for my Dr Recommendation showed and that was it on my way..hate that shit!!!

  • zoro

    In May 2013, I flew out of SFO to JFK in New York with no problems! Had an ounce of medicine in my carry on with my doctors recommendation. Went through standing X ray while my bag was on the conveyor and they didn’t even ask questions! I spoke with a TSA agent after I passed through security and he said that they don’t usually look for marijuana. They are more concerned about liquids, weapons, and some electronics. Also told me if they did spot the Marijuana that all they would do was call SFPD and they will verify my recommendation and if everything is legit they would let me board the plane.

  • DonnaSweeney

    Y Drink & Drive? When U can toke & Fly :)

  • Brian

    united states my but we all so divided

  • jbentzr

    Mail your meds ahead of your trip destination

  • Sundlite

    Flying out of SMF (Sac) to ITO (Hilo, Hi) next week. What are SMF’s guidelines? Should I call TSA? Or Sherriff?Should I seal & reaseal, & package so it doesn’t look or smell like medical marijuana? Or does it matter if it is obvious? Should I lable it, not label it? Inform TSA, or wait until they find it? Mailing meds is DEFINITELY illegal. Questions…….

    • Kathi

      I put it in my carry on with my MMC on top. no problem. Took a qtr. oz., in the original package with the label on. Do not re-package or try to hide it. Safe I’ve heard if flying into a state that accepts other states MMC’s.

  • Cindy Weather

    Flying back from Pasco,Wa. to Orlando and want to bring Drops,balm-which smell like lavendar…and drops are sealed and in a glass bottle…and a candy bar …all sealed in cooking bag then a heat sealed bag. Don t have a med. card.Will i get arrested? Suggestions?

  • chris

    what about driving through a state that does not have MM