It happened in the space of one day. First, the US Transportation Security Administration appeared to signal a lift-off to passengers travelling with medical marijuana on a plane. It then brought those hopes crashing to the ground, before the sun had even set for a second time. The UTA blamed their new website for the mix-up: It said it was a “mistake” that led people to believe (for about 24 hours) that this permission was in the bag. And that their medical marijuana could be, too.
‘Yes’ becomes ‘No’ to travelling with medical marijuana
According to The Guardian, the TSA gave the go-ahead in the “What Can I Bring” section of their new website. A green “Yes” was listed next to both “Carry-on bags” and “checked”. But a flurry of tweets swiftly saw the site shut down long enough to change each of these to a bold red “No” to travelling with medical marijuana.
In one of the quickest turnarounds imaginable, the TSA compounded the on-going confusion of when and where legally-prescribed marijuana is actually legal in the US. It appears the only legal place to have medical marijuana is in one’s home state – provided it’s legal there. Travelling between states can be awkward, and flying doesn’t seem to be the solution for anyone leaving home.
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Confusion still reigns
Medical marijuana is now legal in 28 US States, as well as the District of Columbia. And, according to estimates a year ago, more than a million US citizens are legally using the plant for medical purposes by prescription. The chances are that many of them will at some stage will be confused as to whether they can take their medication with them on a flight. They will just have to hope there will be no more mistakes on websites. Because, it appears that, for now, there are no clear skies on the issue of travelling with medical marijuana on planes. It’s just another grey area in the confusion regarding the legality of medical cannabis, when the person it’s prescribed for is on the move.
TSA governed by Federal Law
On the TSA website, the No’s remain. The TSA states, in explanation, that it is governed by federal law. This makes no allowance for different treatment for medical, as opposed to non-medical, marijuana. Its legality under local law is therefore not relevant when it comes to TSA security screening.
However, the TSA also says that its security officers do not actual search for it. Nevertheless, if they come across a substance that seems like it could be marijuana, they will refer it to a law enforcement officer.
When it comes to taking your medicine, and that medicine is marijuana, there seems to be no end in sight as to the confusion regarding how to take it with you when you travel. The issue could be said to be still up in the air. But, then again, it definitely can’t be – at this stage, anyway.