Can you bring marijuana on a plane from CT?

The answer to that question might seem like an obvious “no,” but cannabis is legal in 37 states, including Connecticut. So, what if you’re flying from a state where cannabis is legal to another state where cannabis is legal? What about CBD products? What if I am a medical patient using cannabis as medication?  

 Dan Velez, a TSA spokesman for New England, said that TSA agents are not actually looking for drugs.  

TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers,” Velez said. “TSA canines are trained to detect explosive odors, not drugs.” 

If, however, a TSA officer does find cannabis or any other controlled substance on a passenger or in their luggage, you won’t immediately be charged. You won’t be allowed to fly, but you might not go to jail, depending on what state you’re in.   

“Our officers will notify local police at the airport because marijuana is illegal from a federal perspective. It’ll be up to the police on how they handle it,” Velez said. “This is how it’s handled in every state and every airport.” 

So, if you’re flying out of Tweed New Haven Airport, for example, local police will probably handle it differently than if you’re flying from a state where cannabis is not legal.

In Connecticut, state police have had “very few incidents involving marijuana,” a spokesperson said via an emailed statement, and “these were not arrests based solely on marijuana possession.” 

“The majority of these cases were search incident to arrest,” the statement said. “In other words, if law enforcement makes an arrest, officers or troopers may search that person. For example, in 2022, Troopers were called to a man who was urinating in public. Once he was arrested for that disturbance, cannabis was found on his person.”

There have been no reported incidents of marijuana at the airport this year, and infractions issued previously were based on the statute before cannabis was legalized in 2021

“If TSA reported marijuana (found at the checkpoint) to CSP, an infraction (not an in-custody arrest) was issued to the person possessing the marijuana, and it was seized by state police,” the statement said. 

There were few infractions issued at Connecticut airports before legalization. In 2020, there were eight infractions issued, four in 2021 and six in 2022. 

TSA explains on its website that the legality of flying with medical cannabis depends on the concentration of the product. Passengers can have cannabis products in their carry-on and checked luggage but with restrictions.  

“Marijuana and certain cannabis-infused products, including some cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law except for products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by FDA,” the TSA’s website says.  

The TSA makes clear that some of this is a judgment call: “The final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.”

 

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