October 10, 2018 • Jerod Gunsberg, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer
I know, I know. LAPD has instituted a policy where you can now travel with up to 28.5 grams of marijuana flower and/or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis in your carry-on bag when traveling through Los Angeles International Airport. Since it’s legal to possess this anyway, it makes sense you can take it through the airport, right? Especially if you’re flying within California or to Oregon, Vermont, Colorado, or another state where recreational weed is legal. Okay, sure, it makes sense. But practically speaking? That’s another story.
What Are the Potential Legal Ramifications for Bringing Weed to LAX?
Remember, even though possession of small amounts of marijuana is legal for personal, recreational use in California, it is still illegal under federal law. Airports and commercial airplanes are governed by loads of federal laws and regulations. TSA still handles all passenger security and screening at airports. TSA is a federal agency. If TSA finds any weed on you, you can bet they’ll do a far more comprehensive search of your property and person, and then refer you over to LAPD to see what they want to do. Even if you’re within the legal possession limits, the TSA can still flag you and subject you to hassles and searches and delays whenever you fly anywhere in the country.
If LAPD Says It’s Fine, Then Why Can TSA Still Enforce?
Is it fair? No. Does it make any sense? No. Have courts routinely decided that people at airports have a minimal reasonable expectation of privacy and can be searched for nearly any reason? Yes.
And that’s just it, even if LAPD says it’s okay, TSA can and very well may find reasons to make travel life difficult for weed-toting passengers. If you leave the country and then come back into America, you could be flagged for more invasive and detailed screening upon entering the country. The federal government, especially the current administration, takes enforcing all drug laws very seriously. Again, it’s ridiculous. I’m with you. But that’s where we are.
Also, consider this—if you’re traveling elsewhere in California or to a legal weed state, then just buy weed there or have your friend pick some up for you. Or find some homegrown. It’s always better to eat/drink/smoke/vape local. Support local agriculture. Keep it sustainable. And save the personal and legal hassle at the airport.
Bottom line: If you are ever charged with anything over a simple possession of marijuana, then contact the Law Offices of Jerod Gunsberg right away. As a marijuana defense attorney, I have the experience necessary to craft a defense on your behalf. Contact us at (323) 633-3423 or via this confidential contact form.