The Best Way to Travel With Marijuana (And Not Get Caught)
So you want to bring your pot on vacation. Of course you do!
Even if you happen to live in a state that legalized medical or recreational marijuana, there’s a good chance that the place you’re traveling might not be so progressive. Plus, there’s the tricky issue of getting your goodies from point A to point B. The last thing anyone wants is to get smacked with a giant fine — or jail time.
Doctor’s hand holding medical marijuana | megaflopp/iStock/Getty Images
Traveling with marijuana doesn’t have to be complicated. The best way to avoid getting caught? Be cool, man. Times are changing, and a little marijuana isn’t that big of a deal anymore. Right now, recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and medical marijuana is legal in 29 states. A 2017 Gallup poll shows that 64% of Americans supported the legalization of marijuana.
Editor’s note: Federal law prohibits transporting marijuana by plane or by car. By doing so, you are taking a major risk and breaking the law. You do so at your own risk.
How much weed can you fly with?
The key to traveling with marijuana is simple: don’t be greedy. Packing a little jar of weed isn’t going to set off any alarm bells, but transporting several pounds it almost guaranteed to get you busted. Practice self-control and use your common sense. Typically, one-eighth or less will slide past security just fine.
The best place to hide your weed is in your carry on.
Trying to check your weed in your bag is a terrible idea. You could become the target of a random bag search and the results would be disastrous.
Instead, keep your small stash in your carry-on and hope for the best. Typically, TSA agents are looking for bombs and liquid bombs, which is why the rules for transporting liquids are so strict. They’re not after your weed — they just want to keep everyone safe on the plane.
Rolling marijuana into a joint | Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Here’s how to hide weed when you fly:
- Joints — Put them in a pack of cigarettes with regular tobacco sticks.
- Bud — Hide it in a bottle of ibuprofen underneath the pills and cotton.
- Edibles — These are the easiest thing to fly with. Gummies can go in a gummy bear bag. Cookies can go in a Chips Ahoy package. You get the picture!
- Wax and oil — You can hide these in candy bags also, just be sure any liquids are less than 3 ounces.
The most important thing about getting through security with marijuana is to make sure everything complies with the rule for liquids. It’s not a guaranteed way to get your stuff through, but it’s your best chance for sliding past TSA undetected.
You can sneak your weed through airport security without getting caught
Getting weed through airport security is a lot easier than you even realize. There are stories of people traveling with marijuana who forgot they had it and somehow breezed right past TSA without getting caught — even though they didn’t try to hide it!
Here’s the other thing that should make you feel better about traveling with marijuana: even if you do get caught, no one is calling the DEA and putting you in jail (probably). TSA is on the lookout for bombs and weapons, not a little dimebag of bud.
What happens when you get caught with weed on a plane?
If you get caught, the worst that will happen is security will make you toss your marijuana in the trash with your unauthorized yogurt and then proceed through the line.
There is a chance that you could be referred to law enforcement and may even miss your flight, though. It’s best to proceed with caution and assume that this might happen. Of course, traveling to and from states with more lenient marijuana laws makes a big difference. The TSA agents in Denver are a lot less likely to care about your weed compared to other places.
A TSA agent searches a bag. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Can airport scanners see your weed?
The thing about airport scanners is that they’re checking for very specific contraband — weapons, bomb materials, and excessive liquids which may be liquid bombs. They are not hunting for drugs.
There is no way for the scanners to detect and identify each individual item in your bag. If you take the proper precautions to camouflage your stash, chances are it will sail right through the security scanners as long as it complies with TSA guidelines.
It’s a real risk to drive with weed.
The weirdest thing about traveling with marijuana is that it’s easier to transport it via plane than it is to drive around with it. Part of the problem is that police officers often target out-of-state plates — especially from states with legalized marijuana.
If you do choose to bring your weed in the car on your road trip, stick with gummies or vape pens so the smell doesn’t give you away. But if at all possible, skip driving with your stuff and just buy it when you reach your destination instead.
Here's how to bring weed onto your vacation.
Can I Travel With Marijuana?
We’re fortunate enough to live in a time of increasing marijuana legalization. There are now 11 states that have legalized recreational use and a total of 33 states that have legalized medicinal marijuana. But because not every state has the same cannabis laws, traveling with weed can still be quite confusing. If you’re about to travel with cannabis, regardless if by plane, train, or automobile, you probably have a few questions about legality and risk. We’ve created this post so you can travel safely knowing how to fly with weed, what’s risky, all-clear, legal, and illegal.
Traveling With CBD Products
Before we address marijuana, let’s get CBD out of the way. Since the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, cannabis products with less than 0.3% THC are recognized as legal substances by federal law. This means you’re able to travel with CBD in an airplane, in your car, or on your person. The TSA even updated its policy recently to allow CBD, hemp-derived products on planes in both carry-on and checked-bag capacities. As long as your CBD products abide by other TSA regulations, you should be good to go!
Flying With Marijuana
Despite marijuana legalization in many states, it’s still an illegal drug under federal law. Unfortunately, this means weed bought in legal states is not technically allowed beyond post-security areas at an airport. However, this doesn’t mean the TSA is cracking down on cannabis travel or that it’s even on their radar. And so, many people are left wondering if flying with cannabis allowed and/or tolerated.
Can You Bring Weed On A Plane?
The legal answer, in most cases, is no. However, we’re very aware this isn’t going to stop most people, especially since the TSA and many airports have been wish-washy with their response to cannabis travel. We go through the details below.
Does TSA Check for Marijuana?
Again, the short answer to this question is no, but the TSA’s current stance on marijuana and other drugs is vague and leaves room for interpretation. Since their focus is on plane and passenger safety, “TSA security officers will not search for marijuana and other illegal drugs.” That being said, if they find weed while searching for other items, they’re legally required to contact a law enforcement officer to handle the situation.
Do Checked Bags Get Searched for Drugs?
TSA’s stance on marijuana is the same for both checked bags and carry-ons. Checked bags do not get searched for drugs, but there may be consequences if it’s found while looking for other items. Since weed doesn’t get flagged on its own, flying with weed in a checked bag is less likely to be noticed as long you don’t have anything else TSA will need to investigate.
Can You Get Arrested If Caught With Marijuana At An Airport?
Ultimately, the consequences for marijuana possession depend on the amount you’re carrying and the airport you’re in. In some airports, like Los Angeles International Airport, local law enforcement will not arrest anyone possessing less than 28.5 grams of marijuana. Similarly, Seattle-Tacoma Airport allows passengers to carry weed up to the state’s legal limit. Other airports, like Boston’s Logan Airport, aren’t taking any position at all – there are no prohibitions but also no regulations allowing a certain amount. This makes it incredibly difficult to determine how traveling with weed is handled.
It should be noted that, if you’re traveling with marijuana in a state that hasn’t legalized it, you’re chances of getting caught and reprimanded are much higher. We suggest refraining from travel with weed in places it’s illegal.
Can Airport Security Confiscate Your Weed?
Yes. While the legal repercussions may be a bit hazy, there’s a good chance your weed will be confiscated if found (unless you’re in an airport that has openly stated they allow possession up to a certain amount).
Flying with Edibles
If you’re going to fly with weed, your safest bet is to fly with edibles. Yes, it’s still technically illegal, but gummies are easy to place alongside other snacks in a plastic baggie and will likely be identified as standard candy. Even if you’re flying with edibles internationally, as long as you have the pot gummies sealed in a baggie that doesn’t advertise what they really are, it’s one of the least risky ways how to get edibles through airport security.
Flying with Vapes
“Can you bring a vape on a plane” isn’t a question solely reserved for people interested in flying with weed in carry on bags. No matter its contents, vapes are only allowed in carry-on luggage. Placing your vape in a checked bag is a guaranteed way to get your weed confiscated. But even if you place your vape pen in a carry-on bag, your chances of getting caught are increased. Vapes are easy to identify in scanners and will probably be checked if there’s any liquid or flower packed into it.
Flying with Flower
Unfortunately, this is probably the easiest way to get your weed confiscated. Flower is an organic compound, an item class that can be used in bombs. It makes sense that TSA would be quick to check it out; and if you’re not in a weed-friendly state and airport, you might have an unfortunate situation on your hands.
Is it Legal to Fly with Marijuana in Canada?
The Cannabis Act of 2018 implemented a framework for legal control of the production and distribution of cannabis in Canada. Under this law, flying with cannabis on domestic flights within Canada is also legal, so long as the amount is under 30 grams.
However, flying with weed across the Canadian border is illegal. This includes medical marijuana and CBD. If you are traveling back into Canada, regardless if by plane or car, you must declare any weed you have in your possession. Attempting to hide weed across the border may result in your arrest and prosecution.
Can I Fly Internationally With Marijuana?
Weed is still illegal in most countries, and the consequences for possession will vary widely. That being said, rules apply in this case exactly as they do with domestic flights – marijuana on planes is technically illegal regardless of where you’re flying.
Driving With Marijuana
Driving with weed is way less risky than flying with it. That being said, especially if you’re in a state where it isn’t legal, it’s best to stay smart about it. Don’t smoke and drive. For starters, it’s dangerous, but it’s also a great way to get pulled over and searched. Even if you’re in a state where weed is legal, don’t get high if you know you’re driving anytime soon.
Is It Legal to Drive With Marijuana?
In a decriminalized state, the laws are very similar to driving with alcohol. Don’t have weed in an unsealed container within reach of the driver and don’t carry more than the legal limit. If you’re driving in a state where weed is illegal, you can still be charged regardless of where the weed was bought.
What’s The Safest Way To Drive With Marijuana?
No matter what state you’re in, the smartest place to stash your weed while traveling is in the trunk. The weed should be kept in a sealed container and ideally tucked into a corner. Glove department boxes also work, but keeping it completely out of reach is the best way to ensure you’re in the clear.
The bottom line is that traveling with marijuana is still a risk, but it’s increasingly less of one. If you’re traveling somewhere and buy weed, try using it up before you travel back home (and vice versa). Hopefully, federal legalization will come sooner than later and we won’t have to worry about how to bring weed on a plane at all.
Have you traveled with marijuana before? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below!
We’re fortunate enough to live in a time of increasing marijuana legalization. There are now 11 states that have legalized recreational use and a total of 33 states that have legalized medicinal marijuana. But because not every state has the same cannabis laws, traveling with weed can still be quite confusing. If you’re about to travel with cannabi