When packing for cheery travel during the holiday season and beyond, you may want to weed out the marijuana and stick to alcohol in your bags. Otherwise, you could have more delays than weather and mechanical holdups.
Sure, pot is more prevalent with more states in the nation recognizing it as a legal substance within means. But that doesn’t mean the federal government does.
If the Transportation Security Administration as an arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security observes a significant amount of marijuana or any other controlled substance in a passenger’s carry-on bag or checked luggage, they will request assistance from the San Jose Police Department-Airport Division to investigate.
“Police representatives will follow up from there, if the amounts detected are above legal limits,” said Rosemary Barnes, spokeswoman for the Mineta San Jose International Airport.
TSA’s response to the discovery of marijuana on a traveler or in luggage is the same in every state and at every airport – regardless of whether marijuana has been or is going to be legalized. This also covers medical marijuana — in any amount.
TSA’s focus is on terrorism and security threats to the aircraft and its passengers. TSA’s screening procedures, which are governed by federal law, are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers.
“As has always been the case, if during the security screening process, a TSA officer discovers an item that may violate the law, TSA refers the matter to law enforcement,” TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said.
Law enforcement officials will determine whether to initiate a criminal investigation or what steps will be taken.
Marijuana remains an illegal substance under federal law. The passenger’s originating and destination airports are not taken into account. Airport law enforcement will be notified if marijuana is discovered by a TSA officer during the security screening process of carry-on and checked baggage. Whether or not the passenger is allowed to travel with marijuana is up to law enforcement’s discretion.
Another note of caution: smoking marijuana is prohibited on the grounds of the airport.