California has legalized marijuana, the current administration has pardoned many simple marijuana possessions, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration legalized CBD products with less than 0.3% THC. Although it looks like weed is legal at all levels for a Golden State resident, does that mean you can travel with it?
No. Marijuana is still a Schedule 1 illegal narcotic federally. Since air travel is regulated by the federal government, marijuana is illegal on airplanes.
In California, the answer is "no." Transportation Security Administration officers do not enforce drug laws as they are not commissioned law enforcement officers. They cannot arrest you. They can only detain you for an arrest by a commissioned law enforcement agency, like airport or local police.
However, if those entities do not recognize the federal criminal infraction as a local infraction, like marijuana possession, the TSA officer will not detain you.
If a TSA officer finds weed on you or your belongings, they will ask you to throw it away. If you refuse, they will not allow you to pass the security checkpoint, and you will not make your flight. However, if you do dispose of it, they generally will let you proceed.
Nonetheless, for context, TSA agents are not looking for drugs. Their dogs are not even trained to sniff them out. If they find it on you or in your bags, it may be incidental to their search.
This is not to say that you cannot have so much pot on you that it would not rise to the level of a federal referral, only that TSA generally defers to local rules and laws. If you find yourself testing these limits, and face California, drug charges, you need to take them seriously. Ask for a lawyer immediately and do not answer any questions.
Marijuana and marijuana derivative edibles are still illegal on a federal level. Since the federal government regulates air travel and the skies above the United States, marijuana and marijuana derivative edibles are illegal on flights.
This means that you could legally purchase marijuana and marijuana derivative edibles in California, but you would be prohibited from flying with it within California. Similarly, you could not fly to another state where those same products are also legal.
Another popular marijuana derivative is CBD. It has rapidly gained popularity over the past 5 years or so thanks to celebrity endorsements and popular media. As long as the CBD product contains less than 0.3% THC, it is legal federally as these products have been approved by the FDA. This means you can fly with your FDA-approved CBD products as long as they follow the other TSA carryon limitations, like those that relate to liquids.
If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, it's still important to take criminal charges seriously. Even though you may think you have done nothing wrong, if you are being arrested, do not speak with the police. Instead, ask for an attorney.
If the police try to interview you, just continue to ask for an attorney until you receive one. Even if what you were arrested for is dropped later, you could get yourself into more trouble by talking with the police, as they will use whatever they can to charge you with additional crimes.
For experienced legal help with drug charges, contact Chastaine Jones. We have been fighting for fairness and protecting the rights of Californians for more than 50 years. Get in touch today by calling us at (916) 932-7150.
Get to know our experienced criminal defense attorneys, Martin Jones, Mike Chastaine, and Jessica Davis. Do you need legal advice? Contact our Gold River criminal defense law firm today!