Travel Warnings for Medical and Recreational Marijuana Users


Because marijuana is still an illegal substance at the federal level, traveling with it can be tricky. Whether you are a medical or recreational user in one of the many states where it is now a legal substance, marijuana needs to be transported within the scope of the law. State guidelines and traveling laws vary, so it’s going to be important to do a little research before you hit the road.

Can I Fly with Marijuana?

According to the TSA website, some products that are FDA-approved or that contain less than 0.3% THC content may be able to be transported in carry-on luggage and checked bags. This is, of course, within the realm of federal, state, and local laws. It should also be noted that TSA doesn’t specifically screen or search for illegal drugs, but if they happen to find them while completing a security screen, they will be required to contact a law enforcement officer.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s better not to fly with your stash.

However, as more states legalize their usage, some airports are changing their stance on marijuana transport by passengers. Some now allow intrastate travel for users, provided that their boarding passes can prove their destination. Others will make you throw it out, like that oversized bottle of water that you’re not allowed to take on board.

It’s not worth the risk. Before you travel, learn the laws. If you have to fly, contact the airports that you’ll be using and see what their policies allow. Medical users should always carry their medical card, along with another piece of documentation that explains recommended or “prescribed” usage for verification purposes.

What About Driving?

Again, you need to know the rules of your state regarding traveling with marijuana. Also, you should never cross into a state where it is still illegal when you are driving. Even if you’re just passing through, you could risk being stopped and cited for possession. It just isn’t worth it.

Important Tip: Washington, D.C. and all U.S. national parks are considered “federal sovereigns”, which means that federal law trumps any other state/local laws. Therefore, possession in these areas will almost always result in federal criminal charges.

You may be able to travel with marijuana in some states without breaking the law. However, it is still illegal in all 50 states to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving. These substances can impair your driving abilities, which can create a huge safety risk.

No International Travel

You should never travel abroad with a controlled substance of any kind, including prescription medications.

The laws and legal processes in other countries vary significantly, so it’s best to travel proactively to avoid any issues. Being arrested or cited in another country could turn your vacation into a nightmare very quickly.

The Bottom Line

If you use marijuana for a medical reason, it's going to be in your best interest to do some research ahead of time so that you can make the necessary travel arrangements or plan your destinations accordingly.


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