Here’s what you need to know if you ever think about traveling by plane with cannabis. Flying with cannabis seeds is illegal in the U.S., but seeds have been sold internationally via mail order for years, with Dutch and Spanish seed banks shipping to countries around the globe no matter what the laws say. Hello there fellow stoners! I read a few days ago (cant find the post back unfortunately) that somebody managed to travel with 20 – 30 seeds put in his…
Flying With Weed: TSA Marijuana Rules Explained
As those with an affinity for marijuana – or pop culture aficionados – can tell you, April 20, or 4/20, might as well be a national holiday.
That’s the day cannabis lovers celebrate the legendary weed. Legend has it that the most plausible historical origin of 4/20 came from the 1970s, when a group of California teenage buddies met each day at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana, with the ritual soon spreading from there and the time stamp simply evolving to 4/20.
Of course, what was taboo 50 years ago is more accepted today. Medical marijuana dispensaries are nationwide, and most states have relaxed their laws on how much recreational marijuana a person can have.
Ah, but can you fly with it? (And by fly we mean literally, on an airplane, not metaphorically.)
The short answer is, no. And, at the same time, sort of.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, “Marijuana and certain cannabis-infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law except for products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by FDA. (See the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-334.) TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law to local, state or federal authorities.”
There’s your hard no. Marijuana is still illegal to fly with.
“TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers. Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”
There’s your ‘sort of.’
It’s a risk you, as a passenger, will have to take. The TSA takes jurisdiction over airline policy when it comes to marijuana and will refer you to the proper authorities if they find it.
If they find it being the key phrase.
For instance, when the state of New York last year legalized the recreational possession of up to three ounces of cannabis, TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein admitted the strange dichotomy of the interpretation of the law. Farbstein said TSA officers aren’t looking for marijuana, but have a legal duty to report it if they find more than three ounces of the stuff.
“There has been no change in the way that TSA handles marijuana or other drugs that TSA officers come across when they are performing their security duties,” Farbstein told Gotham Magazine.
Benjamin Branham, a spokesman for the Port Authority, which operates John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York City, said:
“New Yorkers 21 years old and older can possess, obtain and transport up to three ounces of cannabis. Therefore, PAPD does not issue tickets, seize or arrest for this amount at New York airports.”
Another point to consider is where you are traveling to as a final destination. While society might be more accepting of limited marijuana use, only 18 states – less than half – have legalized cannabis for recreational use.
So while you might think you’ve dodged a bullet by getting your stash past the TSA checkpoint, you still might have to deal with state laws depending on where you arrive.
For the latest travel news, updates, and deals, be sure to subscribe to the daily TravelPulse newsletter here.
Ask a Stoner: Can I Take Seeds and Hash Equipment Out of the Country?
Dear Stoner: I would like to buy some seeds and hash-making materials when I visit Denver this month from Brazil. What’s the best way to do that?
Dear Felipe: You can find both of those here with relative ease — check our online list for dispensaries that carry seeds — but it’s not worth the risk of taking any of it home. Depending on what type of hash-making materials you need (which can range from bubble bags and ice cubes to a closed-loop extraction system), you should be able to purchase them online, as virtually all such supplies can be used for reasons other than cannabis extraction. Just do that instead.
Flying with cannabis seeds is illegal in the U.S., but seeds have been sold internationally via mail order for years, with Dutch and Spanish seed banks shipping to countries around the globe no matter what the laws say. Those seeds aren’t always females, however, and I’ve heard reports of varying luck with the genetic and growing results. My suggestion would be to either buy the seeds here and ship them home, or order them online to be delivered to to your door. or a friend’s, if you’re scared.
Send questions to [email protected]
KEEP WESTWORD FREE. Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we’d like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it’s more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our “I Support” program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Carrying seeds in your luggage on a plane
I read a few days ago (cant find the post back unfortunately) that somebody managed to travel with 20 – 30 seeds put in his jeans pockets, spread over the whole area of his suitcase.
I will also be doing the same very soon, and will travel while spreading them in a few pockets in my checked in luggage. My question is, do you keep the original packaging or are the seeds removed from vacuum packaging before being put in the pockets?
Advice is much appreciated and also if you have any other ideas on how to carry them would be great. I am only going to have 10-15 seeds maximum.
I recently went to the Caribbean and had no trouble with seeds in my carry on/backpack. They were not in any packaging though. I use one dram vials to store them and had them all together. Easily over 50 seeds.
Coming back to California, I was gifted at least 200+ seeds all from a 30+ year veteran grower. There was NO way I was going to leave them behind. Everything passed through TSA and xray with no problem both ways. Enjoy and keep hunting!!
Could always go buy a pack of seeds from the store and trade them out. TSA don’t know what’s what and I doubt they smell as long as there’s no flowers mixed in. Or mail them.
Do not put anything in your checked bag. If the search it they will take them. I’ve never traveled with beans, I fly all over with rolled joints in my carry on though. I’ve never had a problem ever. Tsa does not care for cannabis or beans. If you’re nervous put them inside a pen. Do not walk through the scanner with anything in your pockets let alone beans. You’re more apt to be stopped if you have things in your pockets. They have no idea what cannabis seeds are to apple seeds. If you do ever get stopped which you wont. Do not advertise that the are cannabis beans. Too them they could be apple seeds. You will be a ok my friend. Just do not act special when you’re going through security and you will be fine. If they do take the beans if traveling internationally it’s because you did not declare them in customs. You have to claim agricultural items through customs and usually they do not allow anything because they are afraid that it could bring unwanted bacteria etc into the country. Best bet is to put them in a carry on, act normal and keep a zip on the lip. You will be just fine. I’ve been bringing joints with me on flights both domestic and international for years, way before it was decriminalized or legalized in any state or other country. Never once even gotten a look let alone a search. Or just mail them back. It’s very simple. Plus if it’s a gift under 25 bucks you dont uave to pay import on the package. Put them in a box with a t shirt and send that bitch off and you will be fine!
Back in the early 1980s we took 15 grams of hash from Canada over the border by car to help us enjoy our canoe/camping tripping among the Georgian and Florida alligators. My brother hid it in his mouth (seriously). We hoped he wouldn’t be forced to swallow that huge chunk. Lol
Honestly now that I’m older I’d never risk it again. The backwards USA is very strict at the border. I have a career that 3 years in an American prison would seriously interfere with. Not to mention, my wife might be a bit freaked out over it. I’ve heard stories (yeah just stories) that people have lost their cars and freedom while having a few seeds in their ashtray in their car, or a dirty hash pipe hidden under the seat. When you visit backwards, socially undeveloped countries, your best bet is to obey their rules completely when you enter and while you’re there.
Seeds aren’t illegal in the USA. If you’re flying in to the USA with seeds, you’re best off declaring them with customs. If you’re caught lying, there’s a penalty.
It is my understanding that viable cannabis seeds are NOT legal in the USA according to federal law.
I’d think declaring them at US customs would surely get them confiscated.
I have no personal experience with this, so I could be wrong.
This scheduling and definition seems to me absolutely ridiculous.
We cannot afford to let outdated and unjust laws dictate our freedoms and rights.
Lets all make sure we vote to change this any chance we get, as well as supporting our domestic seed producers and sellers here in the USA.
21 U.S.C. § 812 – U.S. Code – Unannotated Title 21. Food and Drugs § 812. Schedules of controlled substances –
Schedule I – (C)- (10) Marihuana
21 U.S.C. § 802 – U.S. Code – Unannotated Title 21. Food and Drugs § 802. Definitions
(16) The term “marihuana” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin. Such term does not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.
In addition to hemp seed being legal, thc bearing seed for novelty, fishing, bait, animal food (non-germination) is legal.
Thanks for the link However these are the required provisions for said import. – from your link :
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates the importation of all seeds for planting to ensure safe agricultural trade. Under this authority, USDA is providing an alternative way for the safe importation of hemp seeds into the United States.
Hemp seeds can be imported into the United States from Canada if accompanied by either: 1.) a phytosanitary certification from Canada’s national plant protection organization to verify the origin of the seeds and confirm that no plant pests are detected; or 2.) a Federal Seed Analysis Certificate (SAC, PPQ Form 925) for hemp seeds grown in Canada.
Hemp seeds can be imported into the United States from other countries if accompanied by:
1.)a phytosanitary certificate from the exporting country’s national plant protection organization to verify the origin of the seeds and confirm that no plant pests are detected.
Hemp seed shipments may be inspected upon arrival at the first port of entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to ensure USDA regulations are met, including certification and freedom from plant pests.
Ive never received these certs ordering from Euro, UK or Canada.
Which is why you still get the green tape and seeds confiscated if CBP catches your order to the USA. And declaring it without proper paperwork at the airport customs would probably have the same results.
Have you a link to any more info from your comment? “In addition to hemp seed being legal, thc bearing seed for novelty, fishing, bait, animal food (non-germination) is legal.”
Thanks, appreciate the updated info.