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Marijuana possession and flying on planes: Is it legal?

Currently, more than eight states have laws on the books that allow for adults to possess marijuana. At least 30 states have medical marijuana laws on the books as well. As people embark on trips this summer that take them beyond California's borders, it leaves many wondering whether they run any risk of arrest in flying somewhere much less receptive to drug use than this state.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) receives calls on a daily basis asking about the legality of carrying pot on airplanes. Many callers have trouble reconciling how marijuana possession is still considered illegal by the federal government, yet is legal in a particular state.

When the TSA receives such calls, its staff is trained to emphasize that airports are considered to be under the federal government's domain. As such, it's illegal for passengers to carry marijuana in their bags, even if flying from city to city within the same state.

Even in cases in which flyers know that it's illegal to possess marijuana at airports, TSA officers find it quite often in the bags of flyers in states that have legalized the drug. It's in most of those cases that the TSA turns the offender over to a local law enforcement agency to decide how to handle the individual situation.

In cases in which the flyer is in possession of the lawful amount of the drug and/or a medical marijuana card; the individual is often sent on his or her way with a mere reminder that it's illegal to carry pot on a plane. On the other hand, more prolific recreational users are more apt to be carted off in handcuffs for illegal possession.

As for those who carry more than the legal or prescribed dosage, the risk is being labeled as traffickers. The federal government often steps in to prosecute these types of cases.

If you've traveling by plane this summer, even if you're traveling between states with marijuana legalization policies in place, you may save yourself a lot of stress and aggravation by leaving your pot at home. If you've been arrested for drug possession, then you should seek out the assistance of an Orange County, California, criminal defense attorney before making any statements in your case.

Source: The Cannifornian, "Is it legal to fly or road-trip with weed?," Brooke Edwards Staggs, accessed July 05, 2017

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