ARLINGTON, Va. — Across the nation, states are beginning to legalize the possession and use of marijuana. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states, two territories, and D.C. have "legalized small amounts" of weed "for adult recreational use."
As possession becomes legal, some on social media are starting to wonder whether that means weed can be brought onto planes, in particular when both the origin and destination are airports in states where possession is legal.
The VERIFY team brought these questions to the Transportation Security Administration, and spoke with a legal expert, to get the facts.
Is it legal to bring weed on a plane if the airport is based in a state that's legalized the substance?
No, it is not legal to bring weed on to a plane, because federal law applies at airports and during interstate travel. However, the TSA is not actively looking for drugs.
- Tyson Daniel, Virginia Cannabis Lawyers - Law Expert
- Spokesperson, Transportation Security Administration
- "Medical Marijuana", Transportation Security Administration
- Spokesperson, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
- "Cannabis Overview", National Conference of State Legislatures
WHAT WE KNOW:
Tyson Daniel, a Virginia lawyer specializing in cannabis law, said that the law is pretty clear-cut with this issue.
"No," he said. "That was the short answer."
Daniel pointed out that weed remains illegal under federal law, which is why transporting the substance on a plane is restricted.
"No matter how you slice it," he said. "If you're going through TSA, you're necessarily part of a federal rubric."
That being said, TSA agents are not actively looking for weed or any other drug, according to a spokesperson for the agency.
"TSA officers are not proactively seeking out drugs," the spokesperson said. "If, during the normal/routine screening operation, our officers come across marijuana or any other drugs, we immediately notify local law enforcement. It is up to local law enforcement as to whether there is any criminal charge."
The local law enforcement agency for Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport is the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police. A spokesperson for MWAA sent our team the following brief statement:
"Airports Authority Police enforce laws in accordance with the Code of Virginia," the statement read.
The local law enforcement agency for Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is the Maryland Transportation Authority Police.
MDTA Police has not yet provided a statement, indicating what charges would be given to those found with marijuana.