Lawyers: TSA May Be OK With Your Weed, Or Maybe Not, So Good Luck With That!
Let's go back to this incident from 2011. Rapper Freddie "Gangsta" Gibbs, in a move that we described as evidence of "mind-bending idiocy," got caught by TSA transporting weed in his checked luggage. The size of the baggies made it obvious that he was transporting the drug for recreational purposes - you may not have heard, but rappers are rumored to smoke pot occasionally - and the TSA agent left him an exasperated, pitch-perfect note reading "C'MON SON."
Since then, of course, several states have liberalized their marijuana laws. The federal government, in sharp contrast, has not. This sets up a nice little legal problem: if you're flying within a state where you're allowed to carry weed, or between two states where you're allowed to carry weed, are you allowed to transport your marijuana? Remember that airports are subject to federal jurisdiction, which is why this issue is even a question.
The answer - according to a post on Lawyers.com that got picked up all the way up to the mainstream media - is maybe. Or more specifically, "it’s a try-it-at-your-own-risk scenario."
As far as the letter of the law goes, this shouldn't even be an issue: airports are under federal jurisdiction, marijuana is illegal under federal law, game over. But as a practical matter, TSA has been trying to stay laid back. The agency has a statement posted on specifically this issue, which emphasizes that "TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other drugs." If you absolutely force them to take notice of drugs that you're carrying, they'll "refer the matter to a law enforcement officer."
That said - and we know we say this often, but it's good life advice - don't be stupid. Transporting drugs puts you on the edge of the law, even in states with liberalized policies, and TSA agents can sometimes be petulant assholes. Don't risk missing your plane if you don't have to.
[Photo: Coaster420 / Wiki Commons]