Traveling with weed has gotten more complicated than ever with slow-paced legalization and ongoing political maneuvers. It’s one thing to travel short distances with a legal amount of weed in your car, but what about how to fly with weed when traveling through airports?
The short answer is that traveling with weed can be done, however, it is not legal or advisable.
In this article, we’ll answer common questions about traveling with weed on flights. Using these tips and tricks, you could get sky-high once you arrive at your destination. Legal users of weed, follow this guide while planning your next flight to plan your flight as smooth as your buzz.
Can You Fly with Weed in the United States?
It’s complicated, but again, the short answer is yes. Technically, you can pack a small amount of weed securely in your bag and get through security with minimal pushback. Technically.
Is it entirely legal? Not really. While some states have legalized the use of recreational marijuana, the TSA is a federal entity. Because weed hasn’t yet been legalized at the federal level, the TSA cannot allow weed onto airplanes. Even if you’re starting out in a state where it is legal.
We can’t support the transportation of cannabis during flights within the United States, but we are saying that it’s possible. As a totally hypothetical brain exercise, if you’re of legal age. Definitely not directing you here, even if this is a common practice.
Can You Fly with Weed If You’re Traveling from One Legalized State to Another?
If only. Someday, maybe. But for now, you might be out of luck if you want to travel with cannabis. Unless you’re willing to take a risk. Packing marijuana into your carry-on bag comes with a few precautions, and you need to be aware of the consequences if you’re found out.
Because airspace is monitored at the federal level, travelers are not allowed to carry weed onto planes, even if they’re originating and landing in states where recreational use is legal.
Still, if you’re of legal age and carrying in a recreational-use state, you might be in luck. As the legal use of marijuana for recreational purposes becomes more common in the United States, it becomes normalized. And attitudes tend to get a little more lenient.
Is the TSA looking for your marijuana? Or any other illegal substance for that matter? No, they’ve got bigger fish to fry. They’re on the lookout for threats to passengers, and your indica gummies aren’t high on the priority list. In fact, you’re far more likely to get in trouble for trying to board a plane with a large amount of liquid.
So, the TSA and airport security aren’t patrolling or even checking for cannabis. But what happens if they find it?
Can Airport Security Detect Weed?
It depends. In larger airports, there are greater resources, but the TSA’s screening process is mostly focused on security. Their goal is to protect passengers and employees from outside threats. And your weekend chill-out plans? Not a high priority.
TSA security officers aren’t seriously searching for marijuana, but if that, or another illegal substance is discovered during a security check, they will escalate it to the next level. Local authorities could be called, and your chill-out plans will be dashed.
And what about those x-ray machines you have to send your bags through? Carrying a small amount of plant material is highly unlikely to appear on these machines, especially if it’s packed discreetly. The chances it’ll appear are even lower if you’re traveling with edibles, which tend to look like a snack.
So, it’s more likely that something else will get your bags searched. Our advice is to travel smart. Follow the TSA guidelines for carry-on luggage and checked baggage and you’ll be ok. And definitely leave your bong at home.
That said, a more likely recourse is that your bud will be confiscated and you’ll be out a few bucks. And possibly with somewhat damaged pride.
Okay, But What About Drug-Sniffing Canines?
While you might get sweaty at the sight of German Shepherds sniffing around your luggage, it’s actually pretty unlikely that a legal amount of weed will set them off.
Today, canine security officers are more commonly trained to detect explosives or other containers carrying suspicious amounts of liquid. As such, they aren’t likely to bother with your marijuana. In fact, some dogs are no longer trained to detect weed because it can give a false positive for other, more damaging illegal substances.
Should I Pack Weed in Carry-on or Checked Baggage?
While checking your stash in checked luggage might feel like the correct answer, you’re far more likely to successfully travel with weed in your carry-on bags. The TSA will only do the standard, minimal search of carry-on parcels.
Of course, travel experiences are relative. It’s important to note that “safety” for one group is protected for some and not others. Especially for those from a historically marginalized and prosecuted group. We recognize that traveling without much speculation or worry is a privilege to many, and we understand that if you’re a person of color, these rules are more complicated.
Still, the carry-on approach might be for you if you’re of legal age in a state where weed is also legal.
What Happens If You are Caught with Weed on a Plane?
If you’re of age in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, you won’t face many problems if you’re caught carrying a legal amount in the airport. It might be illegal, but it’ll likely be a very low priority for officers more concerned with the safety of passengers.
We probably don’t have to tell you this, but smoking on planes is prohibited. Travelers who ignore this rule can face fines up to $4,000. Smokers also face being detained upon landing. Lighting up on the flight? Just don’t do it.
So, you find yourself caught with a small amount of marijuana in your carry-on. It’s likely your stash will be confiscated. This can be avoided by being smart. Don’t smoke during flights. Don’t be a jerk.
What About Flying with Medical Marijuana?
Alas. Another no.
Marijuana and certain cannabis-infused products are still currenty illegal under federal law. One exception is for products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC, so long as they are approved by the FDA. Check out the TSA website or talk to your doctor about traveling with medical marijuana.
Overall, TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of local, state, or federal law. They’re just doing their jobs, folks. Hopefully, change is on the horizon.
Again, the TSA’s screening process focuses on security. They’re busy patrolling for hazardous or violent threats without caring much about someone packing some bud for managing pain or chronic illness.
And we also know that bud is an important part of getting through a trip to visit relatives in Nebraska.
Is It Better to Fly with Flower, Tincture, or Edibles?
Consider your circumstances. American travelers still aren’t allowed to carry more than a tiny amount of liquid. As such, traveling with infusions or tinctures is probably the most likely to get you flagged.
Because the flower is more pungent, it might be less inconspicuous in your bag. Depending how you pack it, you might send telling (but delicious) signs to other passengers and airline employees. Still, as plant matter, depending how you prepare and pack it, a small amount is unlikely to be detected.
Cartridges are also relatively discrete because they generally look like pens. Still, as their popularity rises, it might be better to avoid this shape as it becomes more common.
Based on these considerations, edibles might be your best bet. They tend to resemble common gummy snacks, aren’t too pungent, and are generally easy to stow away without drawing attention. Throw a pack into your carry-on bag and you’ll be fine.
Can I Fly with Weed Internationally?
If flying within the United States with weed gives you pause, you probably won’t want to chance it when flying internationally. Longer flights, more detailed security checks and processes mean that you’ll be interacting with more security officers and agents. It’s a stressful thought. With so many extra steps, you increase your likelihood of it being found and confiscated.
Our general advice is to avoid it. Make a friend in Germany. Maybe swing by Amsterdam.
As Europe in particular makes strides toward legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, medical use is common. So card-carrying travelers might be in luck.
Traveling with Weed Can Be Done…If You’re Careful
Traveling with weed can be done, if you’re willing. By being mindful when packing your luggage and respectful when navigating airports, you’re unlikely to get caught. And, worst case, you are caught. You’ll likely face relatively minimal consequences.
Be careful, play it cool, or avoid it altogether. Better yet, stick around in the capital and order your weed to be delivered right to your door. Who needs to fly to arrive at paradise?
Here are some of the most common questions.
Can you fly with a dab pen?
Everything from E-cigarettes, Battery-powered, vaporizers, atomizers, vape pens and nicotine delivery systems you can carry in the cabin. That’s a resounding yes.
Can you travel to Mexico with weed?
Bringing with you any kind and amount of weed across the border is considered drug trafficking and could get you arrested.