Can you fly with CBD oil?
Traveling with CBD is a common cause for questions. Many CBD users have debilitating illnesses that do not allow for travel, sure. But many CBD users are frequently on the go. Their stressful or active work life may be the reason they take CBD in the first place! Many of us could use some stress and anxiety relief and some pain management when we fly.
What to consider when traveling by air
A woman was recently arrested at Disney World for carrying a prohibited substance: CBD oil, reportedly used to help with her arthritis pain.
Despite its legalization across 33 states, traveling with weed is tricky, even from one state to another where both have legalized its recreational and medicinal use. But the lines get a little blurrier with CBD oil, which is derived from a chemical component in cannabis and widely touted as a trendy cure-all for hundreds of health problems.
As of this writing TSA changed its policy on CBD oil in a big way, now explicitly allowing travelers to pack hemp-derived CBD oil (and any FDA-approved medical marijuana) in a carry-on and checked bag for the very first time.
Flying with CBD oil containing THC remains illegal
As reported in an airport, TSA agents must involve local law enforcement if a traveler possesses cannabis, regardless of how much they have or if they have a medicinal card. That shouldn’t be a cause for panic, though.
“Let us be blunt: TSA officers DO NOT search for marijuana or other illegal drugs,” TSA wrote in an Instagram on their official account. “Our screening procedures are focused on security and detecting potential threats. But in the event a substance appears to be marijuana or a cannabis infused product, we’re required by federal law to notify law enforcement.”
And getting caught doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be arrested for possession—it depends on your departure and destination states. In a place like Oregon where cannabis use is legal, you might be fine, but in states where it’s still a crime, you might run into trouble. “Last year, Wyoming law enforcement took the position that CBD was a controlled substance and charged felony possession. This year, the law changed,” Alex Freeburg of Freeburg Law said in an email. “I represented an aid worker that was held for two days and charged with a felony over CBD products that were sold in stores here.”
Some local law enforcement may also impose certain limits on cannabis possession; at Los Angeles International Airport, you can travel with up to 28.5 grams of cannabis and eight grams of concentrated cannabis (though this doesn’t guarantee you the same protection at your destination). Other airports might let you leave cannabis in amnesty boxes or return it to your car without repercussions.
Also good news for some CBD oil users: as of December 2018, hemp was legalized under the Farm Bill. With recent changes by the TSA, you’re now allowed to freely travel with CBD oil derived from hemp, which was unclear prior to the update on its website. According to a statement by the TSA provided to Marijuana Movement, this update was prompted by a need to accommodate those individuals that travel with Epidiolex, a drug that is used to treat epilepsy in children and contains CBD oil.
Traveling with CBD oil derived from marijuana, however, remains illegal. (The content of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the decisive factor, here. Hemp generally contains much less THC than marijuana, which played a role in its legalization last year.)
Still, you might also run into trouble when a TSA agent or police officer can’t differentiate between hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD oil. So take note, if a TSA agent catches you with either you may expect a delay, at the very least, in getting to your gate. If there are questions as to whether a particular substance is illegal under federal law, the issue may also be brought to the attention of law enforcement, a TSA spokesperson told Marijuana Movement.
You might have problems on cruises or on federal lands
Both Carnival Cruise Lines and Disney Cruise Lines also prohibit CBD oil on their ships. You also aren’t allowed to have any cannabis, CBD included, while visiting any national park, regardless if it’s in a state which has legalized cannabis use; these public lands fall under federal jurisdiction. (Hemp-derived CBD oil likely remains the one exception.)
And while it might be very easy to stowaway a tincture on any mode of transportation, that doesn’t mean it’s allowed. As in the case of the woman at Disney World, she may have been successful in bringing her tincture from her home in North Carolina to Florida, but was still subject to Florida laws on recreational cannabis. You should research any states you’re traveling through and be aware of the repercussions of carrying cannabis ahead of time.