What the TSA Says About Flying with Medical Marijuana

In a recent post, I shared the story of my Mom who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis thirty five years ago. She slowly came around the idea of using medical marijuana to alleviate her symptoms such as pain, inflammation, loss of sleep and even seizures.

Once she got around to trying cannabis, the next challenge was finding the right medical grade cannabis for her. It's not just a matter of throwing some green flower into a bowl and puffing away. She was not interested in inhaling anything. That narrowed our search to CBD oil. After trying out a few different CBD products, we finally found an oil that's highly effective at treating her.

"Bring enough oil with but don't plan on bringing any back."

- Presto Doctor

It took years to find a medical marijuana product that was effective. Now that she's relying on for it for daily use, she wants to travel to Mexico for a week but is concerned about whether or not she can bring her medicine with her.

We spoke with Rob Tankson from medical marijuana card provider Presto Doctor about how she could travel with the oil. He had a smart suggestion: bring enough oil with but don't plan on bringing any back.

So my mom went out and purchased enough capsules for her trip. She filled them with oil, then put the capsules in her pill box with other medications. The big concern about traveling with cannabis is whether the cannabis gives off a smell that can be detected.

We asked the CO2 cannabis oil extractors at Critical Source in Eugene, Oregon about whether CBD oil gives off a scent. Kenan Hester, co-founder of the company says oils can certainly give off a smell. "The reality is that there can be minute amounts of THC even in CBD dominant oils, unless you've found a pure CBD oil product." He went on to add, "CBD oils can be very fragrant...whether drug dogs are trained to specifically mark for certain specific compounds or whether they are trained to mark for generalized cannabis smells...I'm not sure."

The Weed Blog contacted the TSA about traveling with medical marijuana and here's the response they received:

"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"

According to the TSA, it doesn't matter if a passenger has a medical card, possessing cannabis is a federal crime in the U.S. The wildcard in my mom's situation was how the Mexican government would handle her case if she was discovered to be carrying medical marijuana back to the states. We didn't want to take that risk, which is why she brought enough in capsule form.

When in doubt, it's always wise to pack your medicine in air-tight sealed containers.