It’s the new trend sweeping the nation: cannatourism. People are traveling to states with lax marijuana laws — like Colorado, California, and Oregon — to take advantage of the cannabis culture. But, as criminal law attorney Rebecca Wade explains, different states have different laws about marijuana, which can result in legal complications when traveling.
Is It Safe to Travel Domestically with Marijuana?
“The likelihood of getting caught traveling with marijuana varies whether you are traveling by plane, train, or automobile,” explains Wade. “Ultimately, the safest way to stay out of trouble is to know the law in each and every jurisdiction you plan to travel in and comply with the law in every individual place that you visit.”
Is It Safe to Fly with Cannabis?
“In reality, a lot of marijuana is moving through the airlines in people’s luggage — most of it in personal quantities,” says Wade. “Even though a lot of cannabis is in transit, statistically we are not seeing a large number of people being legally charged for possession while traveling. TSA is primarily focused on security concerns and has not historically shown much interest in prosecuting drugs. However, just because we haven’t seen a high frequency of charges, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to fly or travel with marijuana. You don’t want to be the person who is caught on the cutting edge of law enforcement.”
Is It Safe to Travel Internationally with Marijuana?
“International travel is a whole other ballgame,” says Wade, “because you are not just going through TSA, you are also required to pass through customs. And historically, customs has been interested in drug possession. So, while there is always risk associated with both domestic flights and international flights when traveling with marijuana, international flights are probably riskier.”
Does the Quantity of Marijuana You Travel with Matter?
Another factor to consider is the quantity of cannabis you plan to travel with. Not only are larger amounts of marijuana more easily detected, but in certain states, possession of certain quantities may automatically trigger law enforcement to assume you’re a distributor, which could lead to a stiffer penalty. “Bottom line, the more marijuana you travel with, the bigger risk you are taking,” says Wade.