Can I Travel with Cannabis or Cannabis Gear When on Vacation?

Christine Colbert May 25, 2021 0 comments

Now that things are opening up, people wonder: Can I travel with medical cannabis? Here’s the good and bad news about that.

As cannabis legalization gradually gains traction in the United States, and pandemic restrictions lift, many consumers wonder about travel restrictions for cannabis. Importantly, the answer to the question, “Can I Travel with Medical Cannabis?” depends on many different factors. And it is vital to first recognize that, in the United States, cannabis is still federally classified as a Schedule I drug. This category includes heroin and LSD – drugs that have no recognized medical value and a high risk for addiction and, as such, penalties for trafficking or possession can be severe.

Fortunately, according to the TSA website, medical cannabis is allowed on a plane — with special instructions.

What does that mean? Basically, TSA considers any substance containing more than 0.3 percent THC to be illegal. So, it’s possible that those in the USA can travel with CBD if it contains less than the permissible amount of THC, but be sure to check. Not all CBD oil falls within that guideline. Confused yet?

The final decision of whether or not you can actually bring cannabis or hemp on a plane, and whether or not you’d be in legal trouble for trying, rests with the TSA officer on duty. The TSA website states the following:

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“TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers. Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”

Can I Travel with Medical Cannabis might be what you would want to ask this TSA agent searching a bag

Can I Travel With Cannabis Gear?

When asking “Can I travel with medical cannabis gear?” the restrictions get even more hazy. That’s because the TSA prohibits any device intended for use with an illegal substance. So, your bong, pipe, and/or grinder are technically drug paraphernalia. A TSA officer will not allow drug paraphernalia on a plane.

However, there is a small grey area here. Devices intended for tobacco use can be permitted by the TSA in carry-on and check-in bags. This is because tobacco is not an illegal substance. That means, if you are bringing cannabis gear on a plane, it should not show any evidence of cannabis consumption.

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How to Travel With Cannabis Gear

Clean your gear very, very well. Basically:

  • Your bowl cannot contain resin.
  • There cannot be any flakes of cannabis flower lingering in your grinder.
  • They must be completely clean, and justifiable for use with tobacco products.
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But be aware, a TSA security officer can still confiscate that gear. They may also report you to a law enforcement officer. It all comes down to the individual on duty and their discretion. TSA officers are most concerned with any device that may pose a security risk, so leave any kind of sharp objects (like scissors) at home.

So, with all of these considerations in mind, what is the best way to travel with cannabis gear? As stated above, clean your gear thoroughly. Make sure any and all cannabis residue is absent from your device(s). Don’t bring anything breakable with you (glass pipes or glass bongs). Furthermore, don’t bring anything someone might consider a weapon, and lastly don’t try to hide anything! This extends to your gear. Concealing your cannabis accessories will only make you appear more suspicious to a TSA officer.

Can I Bring CBD on a Plane?

If you’re bringing CBD on a plane, make sure it has a clear, legible, label. Furthermore, ensure the percentage of cannabinoids it contains is also clearly legible.

Keep in mind that TSA officers may still pull you aside, and they could still confiscate it. If you bring cannabis containing THC with you to the airport, the TSA officer on duty may choose to report you to a law enforcement officer.

man walking through airport with suitcase on wheels

Can I Travel With Cannabis Internationally?

In some countries, like Canada, it is now legal to travel with cannabis and cannabis accessories. There are no federal prohibitions and if you’re flying domestically within Canada, you can even bring up to thirty grams of cannabis with you.

However, if you’re traveling from Canada to another country, even if its a cannabis-legal state in the U.S., you may still run into serious problems when crossing the border. The same holds true if you are entering Canada from another country, even if that country is legal.

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Few countries consider cannabis fully legal, or permit traveling with it. If you are traveling internationally, be sure to do your legal research. Generally, it not advisable to bring cannabis or cannabis accessories with you if you are traveling abroad.

Can Medical Cannabis Patients Travel with Cannabis?

The short answer is, it’s not recommended. You can still run into heat for trying to bring cannabis across international borders.

A pro tip – if you are traveling to a legal region, you can often call ahead to a dispensary in that region and have your medicine ready to go when you land. Alternatively, if you are traveling to an illegal region, chances are almost 100% that they will not allow you to enter with cannabis products. That’s true even if you carry proper documentation to identify as a medical cannabis patient.

The final word is that, unless expressly permitted (like it is within Canada), don’t travel with cannabis.