TSA Speaks on This Morning’s Medical Marijuana Confusion

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If you missed this morning’s news on TSA’s major changes, read all about them here.

In short, the TSA updated their site on Tuesday, replacing a “Prohibited Items” page with a “What Can I Bring?” one. An interesting inclusion on the new page was medical marijuana, which was listed as approved for both checked baggage and carry-on. Once news spread Wednesday morning, the TSA suddenly pulled the entire medical marijuana listing from the page. When there was an immediate backlash to the disappearance on social media, TSA then added the medical marijuana listing back onto the alphabetical guide, but this time with bright red “NO” distinctions for both carry-on and checked luggage.

I reached out to the TSA for clarification as to why their stance on medical marijuana abruptly changed, and then went back suddenly.

TSA statement: “There was an error in the database of a new search tool that is now corrected. While we have no regulations on possessing/transporting marijuana, possession is a crime under Federal law. Our officers are not looking for illegal narcotics, but they have to report them to law enforcement when discovered.”

I followed-up by asking about states with medical marijuana laws in place and why travelers would be banned from carrying medicine if law enforcement wouldn’t be able to arrest and TSA agents weren’t looking for it.

TSA: “TSA has no regulations on possessing/transporting marijuana.”

The question remained, why then would the TSA site now state that bringing medical marijuana in either checked or carry-on bags was prohibited if there are no regulations in place?

TSA: “Whether or not marijuana is considered legal under local law is not relevant to TSA screening because TSA is governed by federal law. Federal law provides no basis to treat medical marijuana any differently than non-medical marijuana.”

I have asked for more details about the “error” that occurred but have not received a response at this time. We’ll keep you updated as the story develops.

About Author

Habitually line-stepped on the radio for a grip before writing about music for Genius, Complex, XXL, Elevator, HotNewHipHop, and more. If you're stoned right now, leave a comment with your favorite movie, regardless of what the article is about. Follow @LongLiveTheDuke on Twitter if you're feeling like you don't want our connection to end right this very moment.

67 Comments

  1. Nice easy to understand article, even if the TSA and Fed can’t come up with understandable laws. Thanks.

      • Dick Johnson on

        I’ve been bringing it on planes for years and all I can say is it became a lot easier after 9/11. Just don’t be an idiot because they are not actively searching for it.

      • P Flyingdabber on

        Flew with it yesterday out of Oakland Calif like I have a dozen times before. As usual TSA handed it to a cop who checked my medical card and sent me on my way .

    • Yes. I live in nor cal and in the past 2 months as I’ve boarded with at least an 1/8 along with a pipe, papers, lighter, co2 pens. I flown into Lax, Burbank, Sfo, and Oak and haven’t had a single issue. Granted it’s CA, I dont think you’d have an issue flying into anywhere it’s legal. I’d worry about boarding at airports where it’s illegal more than anything.

    • Kenneth Hammond on

      You can take your chances.. There are no dogs at the airports I have been to. So yea you should be safe.

      • There are dogs in a lot of US airports. Miami international have them before security and after! Hawaii has the same. Chicago, JFK. But a lot of the K9s are bomb sniffing dogs. I travel for biusiness, or I did before I retired. Just wanted to share.

  2. Author, London, now needs to take a Journalism 101 course.
    He never told us what the TSA is.
    There’s this thing called ‘The 5 W’s (and the H)’.
    It’s best to use the set.
    You’re supposed to reveal the meaning of initialed stuff when first referring to it.
    Get better soon, PLEASE.

    • Commenter, Lewis, now needs to take a self-help course. He has nothing nice to say so he comes here to tell people how they are doing wrong and need to better themselves. It’s best to keep to yourself if you have nothing positive to say. You’re supposed to reveal feedback instead of leaving a sarcastically, negative comment. I know, I know.. the author didn’t describe the subject.. but let’s be real if you’re here on this article and don’t know what TSA even is- wouldn’t you look it up yourself? Pretty sure it would take you less time to google it than to leave remarks here.
      Get positive soon. PLEASE! 🖤

      • P Flyingdabber on

        If you are flying from California, with a medical card, I asure you it’s no problem flying domestically. I fly from Oakland to Portland, Seattle, Burbank and San Diego all the time for work and I haven’t had a single problem since I started in 2008

    • Who cares. I think we can all figure out what TSA means. I for one like that he keeps it brief and doesn’t waste my time with linear rules. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

    • Guy who hates Dan Lewis on

      Die you ugly troll you’re a disgrace to marijuana and it’s amazing effects it has take it from a cancer patient you scum bag

    • Appreciate you checking out the article, Dan. If you saw the first sentence, I directed you to read the full story as this was just a quick update I had to get out against the clock. I go into what the TSA is and other relevant details in the full story.

    • TSA stands for Traffic Safety Area. This is where you are allowed to traffic safely in a particular area of the airport.

    • Jonathan Hunter on

      You can bring it on board but you probably won’t have it when you land. I once told the screeners that i had a weed pipe in my checked bag as i had medical marijuana and asked if it was okay. He assured me it was fine but when i got to my destination my pipe had been confiscated.

  3. They probably arrest you. A plant, changed in no way from seed to harvest. It blows my mind that they have been putting people in prison for possessing & selling it. Same thing as selling tomatoes or potatoes.

    • Now we’re talking real talk! Totally agree and still blows my mind. What about mushrooms? Can I fly with those?

    • Guy Who Smokes Daily But Isn't a Fucking Retard Stoner on

      This is why people think stoners are fucking retards – because most of them, like you, are.
      Cocaine is a naturally occurring alkaloid found in certain varieties of the Erythorxylum genus, or coca plant.
      Fucking OPIUM is also a naturally occurring alkaloid.
      Peyote is yet another naturally occurring alkaloid.

      The list goes fucking on & on.

      Just because something is “natural,” or just a “plant,” does not mean that it’s immediately not harmful in any way.

      I’m not saying this in regards to cannabis, but in general this bullshit argument that “bruh weed is just a plant” is fucking retarded and has no logical base, because just because something is naturally occurring or “just a plant,” does NOT mean that it is also not harmful.

      There are many more logically sound pro-cannabis arguments to be had, it being “just a plant,” NOT being one of them.

      • Hey “GUY WHO SMOKES DAILY BUT ISN’T A FUCKING RETARDED STONER” – I recommend you get your facts (or at least terms) straight before you start ranting like a fool.

        Opium – is a natural, plant derived sap containing a number of different alkaloids, codeine and morphine being the most widely known ones, but there are many more within the sap. Some of the alkaloids only enhance histamine response, or respiratory depression, or simply that add to the addictive potential of opium. My point is that opium is a full-spectrum extract that contains many alkaloids. It is not an alkaloid in itself.

        Peyote – natural growing cactus that contains over 50 different alkaloids. Mescaline is the most common and widely studied of the alkaloids found within this amazing plant, but there are many more that add to the overall experience and effects when consumed. Peyote is a cactus, NOT, an alkaloid.

        I could go on, but I think you get the idea here….while there might be a worthwhile point to your comment, your inflammatory words and general asshole-ness in your response ultimately only serve to reduce your response to not much more than simply coming off as a troll.

        The fact that your terminology is so wrong, only serves to further devalue your overall comments.

        Go do some research, go get a clue, maybe go roll a joint and reflect on why you’re such a self-hating stoner. I do agree that there are many more effective arguments for legalization than simply stating that “it Is a plant and therefore harmless” but nobody will ever want to hear what you have to say when you’re being such a dick about it.

        Hemlock is just a plant – but go eat some and see what happens….you’ll most likely die…

        Yes, plants can be harmful, even lethal.

        That being said, I think unnecessary hostility, especially when backed by ignorance/misinformation such as what is exhibited in your comment is even more harmful….

  4. Shane Bennett on

    It’s a set up, it’s a Trap … sure bring your medical Marijuana to the TSA…. we will make sure you don’t get to your destination… but to your new destination……Jail. F that … I would never give a reason to put myself in the position… I wouldn’t trust this system!

    • P Flyingdabber on

      I’ve done it every month since 2008 but some of us here in the Bay Area actually know and abide by the law. Zero problem.

  5. I wonder if TSA would respond to the question of how many incidents there have been where TSA have “discovered” medical or non-medical marijuana and referred the passenger to local law enforcement. If that was divided by the number of searches conducted by TSA annually, it might provide a sense of the statistical chances of being referred to police by TSA. Since they clearly aren’t going to answer direct questions, maybe this could be a way to assess risk. Thanks for your information and work on this.

  6. Maybe it’s a good idea to bring my cookies in a different bag? I hvt brought food thru before do they ask u to throw it away or what?

    • I have taken an entire roll on full of edibles. 15 brownies, gummy bears, goldfish, chocolates, lollipops, a whole assortment and no one has ever said anything. Just put them in ziplock bags so it’s not so obvious and you are fine. And that was for international travel…

  7. No, they are not gonna find and report you. They don’t care. I live in LA and for the last 8 years have been traveling with my medicine. I have asked officers at LAX repeatedly, especially since most of my travel is international, and their reply was “we don’t care what ur leaving with and taking with you, but it’s your problem what consequences you might face when you get where you are going.” Plain and simple, they aren’t looking for it, andthey definately don’t care about someone taking a little stash for personal medical use.

  8. David Brooks on

    Why do amateur reporters always fail to explain acronyms. What is the TSA? Second, bo location given. Week writing and editing.

    • David Brooks is a Fag on

      David brooks… you serious man? Transportation security administration. The guys at the airport… How do you expect anyone to respect your credability?

    • I linked to the full article that goes into greater detail in the first sentence. This was just a quick 4th update to the original story. If you’d like all the basic facts like what the TSA actually is, please read the first article, linked to in the first sentence of this one.

    • The other Jeff on

      Well, this might not be Trump. Remember, he just figured out a few days ago that healthcare is complicated. He might not find out that Sessions is undermining his presidency until his daughter wife explains it to him. And explaining things to an early phase Alzheimers patient takes time. And preparation. e.g. “War with Syria? Bad!” “They kill little babies? Bomb them!”

      That is what daughter wife is dealing with right now. Give her time.

  9. The other Jeff on

    This is about Jeff Sessions. He is old enough to have actually watched Reefer Madness in Grammar School and quite possibly the only living person in the United States not yet residing in an assisted living facility who still believes it is an accurate documentary. He is following the same script for marijuana enforcement that the Trump administration is following for immigration. He knows that enforcement of marijuana laws is politically unpopular among Americans who are not braindead, but he also knows that a few high profile arrests at TSA search facilities, just like arresting immigrants at public rallies and in court proceedings, will drive the middle class white folks away through fear. Then he will go after people of color with a vengeance. It’s what marijuana laws have always been about — southern white racists still bristling at the abolition of slavery. One can only hope that the multibillion dollar MJ industry will put him back in his place — a nice comfy nursing home. Because money is the only thing our pols ever respond to.

  10. AntiWeedMapper on

    Part of the confusion is that people aren’t aware the TSA isn’t a Law Enforcement Agency.

    THE TSA IS NOT A LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY.

    The DEA and FBI have publicly stated a hands-off policy for personal use concerns.

    Add it all up and make your own decision, but honestly if you’re worried about a few grams of medical, or a cartridge, you’ve not been paying attention to the daily news.

  11. While the DEA refuses to remove cannabis/marijuana from being a Class I Controlled Substance, they also hold a patent on the medicinal uses of it. Go figure!

    I had the opportunity to speak with a local District Attorney regarding marijuana. He called it a dangerous drug. When I explained to him the human endocrine glands produce cannabinoids in minute amounts to aid the body’s immune system, he said that minute amounts was okay. Then I said that sometimes disease requires more than minute amounts as in taking any drug, and that using cannabis to boost the body in fighting disease like a prescribed antibiotic or opiate, which the latter boost the dopamine which is also a natural occurring neurotransmitter that produces a euphoric effect just like pharmaceutical chemicals, I had his full attention.

    We plan to meet for lunch.

    Explain with common sense and facts, in a polite manner and you will be surprised at how well you can get others to see things from a different point of view.

  12. its all bull shit. get it together,either its legal or not…if legal we should have the right to carry our medicine ….what next ? waste all this time on weed and their bringing tons of other illegal substances into the U S…..OK MAKE UP YOUR MINDS ALL !!!

  13. I’ve been bringing it on planes myself for years, even before I became a “legal” patient. It’s all in how you pack it. I flew from SeaTac to Vegas via Long Beach, and found a TSA “search card” in my checked bag, right next to my pipe which was in pieces inside a zip loc. Also had several joints rolled and placed inside an empty cig pack, also in a ziploc with another pack of smokes. Not so much as a second search or anything. Might be just luck, I don’t know. But I figure I’ll just bag my meds with my pharmaceutical meds along with my Med rec and see what happens.

    • Good idea. You might want to remove the GPS tracker in your wheel well, though. They dont always leave a card for that . . . .

  14. David Duke fan on

    Some of you uptight people need some really good marijuana.

    I live in Louisiana (don’t ask) and would never bring it to, or fly into, any airport here with pot in my luggage.

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