Can I bring marijuana on a plane?

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2022 | Federal Criminal Charges |

At the beginning of October, President Biden pardoned thousands of people who were convicted of simple marijuana possession under federal law. He also announced the review of whether weed should remain a Schedule I substance, illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.

These moves, in addition to the steady stream of states making marijuana legal, have normalized the idea that the authorities no longer care about marijuana-related criminal prosecutions. However, that is not the case in Tennessee. Regardless of the current administration’s efforts, marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

Still against the law

Marijuana is still illegal federally and, in our state, as well. This means that it is illegal to bring it onto a plane, and it is illegal to transport it through the air, which is federally-controlled territory. In addition, if you take marijuana from one state to another, you may have committed interstate drug trafficking, which is also against federal law.

Does that mean TSA will arrest you?

No. To be clear, the Transportation Security Administration officers are not law enforcement officers. In fact, the TSA is not even charged to look for this type of drugs or contraband, but that does not mean there are no consequences when TSA finds marijuana in airport baggage or on potential passengers.

What happens when something is found?

What happens depends on where you are and the laws of the state. For example, California’s LAX and Illinois’ O’Hare International Airport both announced they will no longer stop passengers with less than an ounce.

No such allowances have been announced in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

If you are flying out of Tennessee, and a TSA agent finds illegal drugs on you, missing your flight will be the least of your worries. TSA can report you to the airport or local police. They will pick you up, arrest you, charge you and the District Attorney will decide whether to prosecute.

What happens next?

Once you face drug charges, your life will follow the path anyone else facing criminal drug charges in Middle Tennessee. Though, depending on the quantity and who arrests you, in addition to drug charges, you may also face trafficking charges.

Hopefully, when you were arrested, you asked for an attorney immediately, and you did not speak with the police thereafter. This will give your the best opportunity to make a case on your behalf.