Flying Higher: Flying with Marijuana


In 2017, more than 42 million folks visited Las Vegas. With such a massive volume of vacationers, and with the legalization of healthcare and adult-use marijuana in Nevada, the query of no matter whether or not marijuana can be brought into or out of the state arises. Regardless of extra states continuing to legalize marijuana for healthcare and/or adult use, it is significant to know that there are nevertheless limitations on traveling with marijuana. As it is extensively recognized, marijuana is nevertheless federally illegal. This signifies that whilst nearby law enforcement in states that have legalized recreational use may well be extra forgiving if a person of the legal age is in possession of the legal quantity, federal prosecutors are nevertheless encouraged to pursue these in possession following the repeal of the Cole Memo. Federal prosecutors have been not necessarily prohibited from pursuing marijuana possession and connected crimes for the duration of the implementation of the Cole Memo, but it was re-classified as a low priority to prosecutors, with eight distinct situations nevertheless becoming of concern to the Division of Justice. Having said that, if one particular state has legalized recreational marijuana can it legally be carried from one particular state to one more? No. A single must refrain from packing marijuana away in a film canister and carrying it on a plane, period. There are two key prohibitions to packing marijuana onto airplanes when travelling. Very first, as pointed out above, it is nevertheless federally illegal. Second, airports may well, and do, pass guidelines prohibiting the possession of marijuana on their premises. This weblog will examine some of the finer points as to why flying with marijuana is nevertheless illegal.

Marijuana is Nevertheless Federally Illegal

The key obstacle to carrying marijuana in your carry-on is that possession is nevertheless federally illegal. While McCarran International Airport is positioned in Nevada, a state that has legalized recreational and healthcare marijuana, the Division of Homeland Safety, a federal entity, is accountable for safety by means of the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA). Simply because federal workers are accountable for screening every single flyer in the United States, and simply because the possession of marijuana is nevertheless federally illegal, then by the extremely truth, passing by means of safety to board an airplane subjects flyers to federal scrutiny, generating carrying marijuana onto airplanes illegal.

Having said that, in Welch v. Huntleigh United States Corp., the Court stated that TSA workers do not have the authority to “detain folks and will have to get in touch with law enforcement officers to search, seize, and arrest folks if illegal products are discovered. . . Considering the fact that the . . . screeners have been only in a position to execute consensual searches, and had no authority to arrest, [screeners] can not be deemed law enforcement officers.” The Welch court also stated that “screeners are in a position to conduct consensual administrative searches for products which are prohibited entry into the airport’s sterile regions.” On prime of TSA agents’ restricted authority, the scope of products screened for is additional restricted. According to 49 U.S.C. § 44902, a TSA agent’s screening is restricted to “establishing no matter whether the passenger is carrying unlawfully a harmful weapon, explosive, or other destructive substance.” Hence, whilst TSA agents can not straight arrest passengers, it falls on them to inform airport police or other law enforcement officers in the region of any prohibited substance, if vital.

Airports Outlaw Possession of Marijuana

This leads to a second obstacle: airports passing guidelines particularly outlawing possession of marijuana on their premises. McCarran International Airport is owned and operated by Clark County. The County chooses to prohibit patrons who “possess, consume, use, show, transfer, distribute, sell, transport, or develop marijuana in or upon any Airport or any home or facility owned by the division of aviation.” A single of the initial airports to take such a stance in a state with legal recreational marijuana was Denver International Airport in Colorado. In December of 2013, the Denver International Airport became the initial city facility to prohibit marijuana possession on its home, citing the truth that it is nevertheless illegal below federal law and that the federal government regulates the aviation business. In some situations, federal funding may well be utilised to coerce states and entities to comply with federal objectives. A single way that the federal government may well dictate how states must legislate is by means of the withholding of federal funds. The federal government’s manage more than airport policies effects how law enforcement responding to marijuana possession plays out. Regardless of possession becoming legal in Nevada, if a traveler is discovered to have marijuana on their individual inside McCarran International Airport, then even nearby law enforcement may well cite them simply because it is prohibited by means of Clark County ordinance on airport home. Having said that, according to The Cannabist-an affiliate of the Denver Post-in the initial 5 months following Denver International’s ban on possession, “Denver police have not cited any one for possession and have not confiscated any marijuana items.” In context, there have been 21,105,942 passengers by means of Denver International in the initial 5 months of 2014.

Interstate Travel with Marijuana is Against Nevada Law

Though it may well not be actively enforced by the TSA, it is nevertheless illegal to fly with any quantity of marijuana. Even prior to the Cole Memo becoming repealed, it was illegal to transport marijuana across state lines. Listed as one particular of eight exceptions, the Cole Memo stated the Division of Justice aimed to continually enforce “Preventing the diversion of marijuana from states exactly where it is legal below state law in some type to other states.” Not only is it federally illegal, it is against the Nevada Revised Statutes to bring marijuana from outdoors Nevada into the state, and vice-versa.


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