Common questions about
air travel and marijuana
While marijuana (cannabis) has been available for sale for medicinal purposes for several years in numerous states, three states, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, allow any adult age 21 or older, including air travelers from other states or countries, to legally buy and consume marijuana products.
While the laws about recreational marijuana have changed in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, the laws and regulations related to airline travel and marijuana have not changed at all.
Any airline passenger who intends to fly to the states of Washington, Oregon, or Colorado for to legally consume recreational marijuana should be aware of a few basic realities about air travel and marijuana.
Basic questions and answers
The following questions are related to travel to and from airports located in the states of Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, where both recreational and medicinal marijuana are currently legal.
Because federal law prohibits the transportation of marijuana (cannabis) by air, the answer to most of these questions is some variation of no, but for some passengers, saying no is not enough. Below are some detailed explanations behind each question.
Can I bring marijuana to the airport? - Maybe. Some airports have banned marijuana from all airport property. If this is not the case, then you may possess marijuana so long as you stay outside of the secure areas of the airport and don't go through the TSA screening stations.
Can I bring marijuana on the plane? - No. You are not allowed to bring marijuana on the plane. In fact, you are not even allowed to bring marijuana past the TSA security screening checkpoints.
Can I put marijuana in a checked bag? - No. You are not allowed to bring marijuana on the plane either in checked or carry on luggage.
Can I mail or ship my marijuana before I get on the plane? - No. Federal law prohibits sending marijuana through the mail or through shipping services like FedEx and UPS.
Can I have my marijuana delivered by drone? - No. Federal law prohibits aircraft operators, including operators of drones, from carrying marijuana on that aircraft. This would be the case even if you are using your own personal drone. There are a number of US federal laws and regulations related to marijuana, many of which have potentially severe penalties for both the drone operator and the marijuana customer.
Can I fly after consuming marijuana? - Yes, but it may not be a good idea. While federal law doesn't prohibit passengers from flying under the influence of drugs, if you are intoxicated, your airline may prevent you from boarding your aircraft.
Also, if you fly while intoxicated, you may not be able to react appropriately in emergency situations, and your behavior may be affected in a way that makes you a hazard to crew members and other passengers.
Because some forms of marijuana, particularly edible marijuana products, may take a while before the intoxicating effects are evident, if you consume marijuana shortly before getting on board, you may become intoxicated during the flight.
Can I smoke marijuana in a designated airport smoking area? - No. These smoking areas are public areas for smoking of tobacco products, not marijuana. Also the state laws of Colorado, Oregon, and Washington ban public consumption of marijuana, which would include designated smoking areas.
Can I consume marijuana at the airport if I am not smoking it? - Yes, so long as you are consuming your marijuana out of public view, and so long as you are following the specific laws or regulations in place at that airport.
What is considered out of the public view at the airport? - That is up to the interpretation of the law enforcement organizations at that particular airport, and whether there are restrictions on the use of marijuana on airport property.
Can I fly with medical marijuana if I have a prescription? - No. Federal law does not allow any kind of marijuana, whether it is medical or recreational marijuana, on airliners or in the secure parts of the airport terminal (beyond the TSA screening stations), and it does not matter if you have a prescription for medical marijuana.
Am I allowed to fly into an airport with marijuana if marijuana is legal in that state? - No. The US government does not allow marijuana aboard airliners, so if you have somehow managed to bring marijuana with you on your inbound flight, you have broken the law, and may be subject to arrest and prosecution by federal authorities.
Are non-US citizens allowed to fly to the US from overseas to consume marijuana? - Maybe. Once you enter the US, you are allowed to purchase and consume recreational marijuana in Colorado or Washington. However, when you arrive in the US (or when you apply for a visa), if you state that your purpose for traveling to the US is consume marijuana, you may be denied entry into the country, and possibly prevented from returning in the future.
Are US citizens allowed to fly to the US from overseas to consume marijuana? - Yes. If you are a US citizen, you don't have to have permission to enter the country.
Can I enter or leave the US carrying marijuana-related items? - It depends on the item. Federal law prohibits the importation or export of any drug paraphernalia used to consume marijana. However, items that are not not directly related to the use or production marijuana, for example clothing depicting marijuana plants, would be legal.
Additional marijuana resources
http://airsafe.com/issues/marijuana/travel-faq.htm -- Revised 27 November 2016