Los Angeles International Airport announced that passengers were free to have cannabis on them or in their luggage when boarding flights as long as it didn’t exceed the amount allowed by California law. Currently, 28.5 grams or 8grams of concentrated cannabis (oil, for example) can be carried by someone within the state. This only applies to people who are 21-years of age or more.
However, individuals who are carrying cannabis legally may still face prosecution once they are discovered by the Transport Safety Administration (TSA) agents at the airport. The TSA is obliged by law to notify local law enforcement (police) once someone is found with marijuana.
It is up to the police to decide whether to prosecute that person, seize the marijuana, or let the person board his or her flight. LA police has already said they will not prosecute anyone who hasn’t exceeded the legal limit of how much someone can carry.
This doesn’t mean passengers will not suffer any inconveniences. The interview by TSA agents before one is handed over to local police may make that person miss his or her flight even if the possibility of prosecution is waived by the police.
A lot of confusion is likely to result from the conflicting rules being followed by the Transportation Safety Administration and the local police.
Passengers are better off avoiding having any cannabis on them when they go to the airport. This will save them from finding out the hard way the kind of delays and back and forth issues that can arise when pot is found on you.
Passengers are also advised to keep in mind the laws of the different states through which they intend to travel since what is legal in one state may be criminal in another state.
A city councilman in LA has even suggested that so-called amnesty bins be availed at the airport so that passengers can place their marijuana in the bin before they get to a TSA checkpoint.
That idea isn’t as far-fetched as it may sound, because Las Vegas has about two dozen such bins at the McCarran International Airport.
The amnesty bin idea has its weaknesses because it means that a passenger will lose his or her legally purchased stash. The better option would be to harmonize the federal airspace rules with the rules in each state so that passengers aren’t left at the mercy of the individual officers who find cannabis in their luggage or on their person.
The contradicting positions of TSA and local police regarding cannabis clearly highlight the challenges that companies like Sugarmade, Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD) and Sunniva Inc. (CSE: SNN) (OTCQX: SNNVF) have to grapple with in the different jurisdictions where they have operations.
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