Traveling with marijuana can present a serious legal issue, especially if you plan to take it with you on a plane or drive across state lines. Some basic precautions may help avoid common problems –
How to Legally Travel With Cannabis
If you’re legally permitted to possess and use cannabis (recreational or medicinal) there are guidelines that allow you to transport your product. Some cannabis-friendly states allow users to drive with up to one ounce of marijuana as long as it’s stored in a sealed container and kept away from the driver and any passengers under 21.
It’s best to travel with an airtight, smell-proof container. This keep your cannabis fresher and help keep you above suspicion. Driving under the influence of THC is illegal, and the smell of cannabis may give police probable cause to search your vehicle.
Crossing State Lines With Cannabis
Federal law strictly prohibits the transport of controlled substances (e.g. marijuana) across state lines. All marijuana possession is prohibited under federal law. Odds of running into trouble depend on your destination.
You’re not likely to face legal consequences driving from one cannabis-friendly state to another if you abide by the laws in each state. When traveling from a recreational-use state to a less-cannabis-friendly state, you have to be cautious. If the destination state has a zero-tolerance policy or imposes fines or jail time for possession, you also need to be extra cautious.
What If You’re Stopped by Federal Law Enforcement?
Even if your state is cannabis-friendly, you can theoretically be taken into custody if stopped by a federal officer. The odds of this happening are low. Federal agents aren’t concerned with routine traffic stops. They target people suspected of running large-scale operations or trafficking drugs.
Assessing the Risk
At the federal level, cannabis possession is a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and a maximum of one year in jail for a first offense. Laws vary tremendously from state to state. New York will subject you to no more than a small fine for possession (similar to a traffic citation), while Oklahoma will impose up to one year in jail and a $10,000 fine for a first offense.
Discreetly Traveling With Cannabis
The first golden rule is to not create a probable-cause situation. Police can’t search your vehicle without a warrant or probable cause. Probable cause is any identifying factor signaling that a search would likely result in evidence of a crime. If a police officer finds marijuana, marijuana paraphernalia, or a strong odor of marijuana, they can search your vehicle.
Keep your cannabis out of sight, preferably stored in a trunk and sealed in an airtight container. Don’t arouse suspicion for other reasons, and your stored cargo should never become an issue.
Bringing Weed on a Plane
Bringing cannabis on a plane is a big risk. Air travel is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration – federal territory. The TSA has explicitly stated that they “do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs,” but they will usually report it if they find it out in the open.
Get a good odor-proof cannabis storage bag and avoid using airtight weed containers (may warrant closer inspection). Put joints into a pack of cigarettes, between actual cigarettes. Place edibles in the packaging of commercial snack foods. Place your odor-proof bag in your carry-on (not in your checked baggage), and pack discreetly.
Avoid packing cannabis-infused drinks, as that may warrant closer inspection. If you plan to bring vape juice, keep it to no more than 3.4 oz. or 100 ml. per TSA guidelines. Generally, we recommend you to leave your stash at home and resupply once you arrive at your destination.
Traveling With Weed Internationally
Don’t travel with cannabis internationally. You can’t predict what will happen during a routine customs inspection, and you don’t want to be apprehended outside your home country. If you must bring your stash with you internationally, at least take some time to research the laws and potential consequences in your destination country.
Can You Travel With CBD?
CBD containing less than 0.3% THC is regulated as industrial hemp and permitted for use by the federal government. You can legally fly with it under TSA guidelines. A few states still have tough laws on the books. Hemp-derived CBD product with 0.3% THC might be legal in Montana but illegal in neighboring Idaho, where products with any THC are illegal.
What to Do if You Get Caught Traveling With Weed
Be polite, cooperative, and honest if you’re caught. Even Arizona (which is technically a zero-tolerance state) won’t incarcerate you for a first or second offense. Be cooperative and say as little as possible to avoid incriminating yourself. None of this is legal advice. Always speak with your lawyer first.