Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has kept travelers at home. Meanwhile, many states have legalized the recreational and medical use of cannabis. Some of these states include Connecticut and New Mexico. Now, with COVID vaccinations and the ease of regulations, it seems that we can return to traveling safely. Let’s say you want to travel, what’s the best way to do so with your weed? Here’s everything you need to know about how to travel with marijuana in 2021.
Rules and Penalties
As of today, marijuana is legal for adults in 18 states and Washington D.C. It’s also medically legal in 37 states. The three largest states that ban marijuana are Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina. It should go without saying, but moving weed from a legal state to an illegal state is not a good idea. Many of these states have harsh penalties for marijuana possession.
What if you were planning to travel to another legal state, like Oregon and Washington. To us Californians, it’s right next door. Regardless, this is not a good idea either. While traveling from state to state, you need to cross borders and drive on interstate highways. These two can fall under federal jurisdiction. Weed is still illegal on a federal level, so getting caught with it can result in serious consequences.
If you are caught, the consequences depend on how much you’re carrying. It also depends on whether it’s your first offense and the nature of the stop. According to the DEA, transporting less than 50 kg of marijuana can merit a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Regardless of whether it’s your first offense or not, you may be punished as such. Even if an officer is in a good and forgiving mood, there are unfavorable consequences. Your weed will be confiscated, and by extension your money as well.
Flying with Weed
Let’s say you want to travel with marijuana within California but on an airplane. You may be tempted to take your marijuana with you. If it’s legal in California, you may think you should be able to. Unfortunately, you can’t without possible repercussions. You can still face penalties for bringing your weed along. This is because air travel and the TSA function under federal jurisdiction. While weed may be legal within California, TSA is bound by federal law. This means they could notify federal authorities.
They may be unlikely to do so though. The most likely outcome is that the TSA confiscates your weed. Unless you are carrying large amounts of weed or are not of legal age, the TSA may not involve higher authorities. Regardless, it is not recommended to travel with marijuana on airplanes due to federal regulations.
It’s important to remember that the TSA is searching for weapons or other possible threats. Their main priority isn’t finding small amounts of drugs on people traveling. So if you truly want to take some weed with you, try this. Make sure to carry your marijuana in your carry-on. Your checked luggage may be randomly checked, whereas your carry-on won’t. You can place a few joints in a pill bottle. You can also place them in a plastic bag along with other items.
There are harsh federal consequences for those who attempt to transport weed across state lines. So you may want to reconsider traveling back with marijuana from your trips to other states, like Colorado. It’s possible for authorities to suspect out-of-state cars that come from states where cannabis is legal. Driving through states where marijuana is illegal can be risky. An officer can simply claim that he smells marijuana and search your car.
If you must travel by car, then prioritize weed products with no smell or odor. These would be things like edibles or vapes.
Traveling to different countries
Marijuana legalization is a global movement. Countries, like Canada, have fully legalized cannabis. The idea of participating in weed tourism sounds fun. But, it’s important to remember that there are restrictions about crossing marijuana across national borders. While attempting to cross state lines might be doable with the right precautions, international borders are too dangerous. For example, Canada bans the transportation of any amount of cannabis across the border. Border agents have the right to search every inch of your car and person. Additionally, they’re also allowed to check your social media account if they find you suspicious. And if you are caught with marijuana paraphernalia, you can be arrested or barred from ever entering the country.