How much weed can I have in my carry on?


Picture this: You’re packing your bags for a long-awaited vacation or a business trip, and you begin to wonder about the legality of carrying weed in your carry-on. Traveling with cannabis can be like navigating a labyrinth of laws and regulations. But don’t worry, we’re here to guide you through the maze and ensure you stay on the right side of the law!

  • Understanding Federal vs. State Laws

  • Airport Security and TSA Regulations

  • Traveling Between States

  • Key Takeaways

  • FAQs

  • Conclusion

Understanding Federal vs. State Laws

In the United States, the landscape of cannabis legislation is a patchwork quilt. Each state has its own rules and regulations regarding cannabis use and possession. However, it’s crucial to understand that federal law still considers marijuana illegal under the Controlled Substances Act.

State-Level Regulations

Many states have legalized recreational and medical marijuana use. For instance, states like California and Colorado have more lenient laws, while others maintain strict prohibitions. Imagine each state as a different room in a house, each with its own set of rules. The challenge is knowing which rules apply when you move from one room to another.

Federal Law and Its Implications

Despite state-level legalization, federal law takes precedence at airports and during air travel. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) operates under federal jurisdiction, meaning they follow federal laws. This creates a complex tapestry of guidelines you must navigate carefully.

Airport Security and TSA Regulations

As you approach the airport security checkpoint, you might feel a twinge of anxiety about what’s in your carry-on bag. The TSA’s primary role is ensuring passenger safety, and their focus is not specifically on finding marijuana. However, if they do discover it, the situation could get complicated.

TSA Screening Procedures

During screening, TSA officers are looking for threats to aviation security, such as weapons or explosives. If they come across marijuana, they typically refer the matter to local law enforcement, which will then follow state-specific protocols. This means that in a state where marijuana is legal, you might just get a warning or have your cannabis confiscated. Conversely, in states where it’s illegal, you could face more severe penalties.

Traveling Between States

Imagine driving from a sunny beach in California to the snowy peaks of Colorado—both states where marijuana is legal. However, crossing state lines with cannabis is another story. Interstate travel introduces federal jurisdiction, making it illegal to transport marijuana across state borders.

Intrastate Travel

If you’re traveling within a single state where cannabis is legal, such as flying from Los Angeles to San Francisco, the risk is lower but not entirely absent. Ensure you know the specific regulations of the departure and arrival airports.

Interstate Travel

Traveling between states requires extra caution. Even if both states have legalized marijuana, federal law prohibits carrying cannabis across state lines. It’s like carrying an umbrella in a storm—you might stay dry for a while, but eventually, you’ll get wet.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand State Laws: Know the specific laws of the states you’re traveling to and from.

  • Federal Law Trumps State Law: Remember that federal law prohibits marijuana possession at airports and during air travel.

  • TSA’s Role: TSA focuses on security threats but will report marijuana findings to local authorities.

  • Avoid Interstate Travel with Cannabis: Crossing state lines with marijuana is illegal even if both states have legalized it.


Can I carry weed in my checked baggage?

No, carrying weed in checked baggage is still subject to federal laws, which prohibit marijuana possession on flights.

What should I do if TSA finds weed in my carry-on?

If TSA finds weed in your carry-on, they will refer the matter to local law enforcement. The consequences depend on the state laws where the airport is located.

Are there any exceptions for medical marijuana?

Medical marijuana patients should carry proper documentation. However, federal law still applies, so risks remain when traveling by air.


Navigating the complex web of cannabis laws while traveling can be daunting, but understanding the rules can help ensure a smooth journey. Always be mindful of both state and federal regulations to avoid any unwelcome surprises at the airport. Safe travels!

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TSA Guidelines on Marijuana Cannabis in the US – Wikipedia Federal Aviation Administration

Traveling with cannabis can be tricky because of different state and federal laws. While some states like California and Colorado have legalized marijuana, it’s still illegal under federal law, which means you could get in trouble at airports. The TSA’s main job is to keep flights safe, so if they find weed, they will report it to local police, who will then follow state laws. It’s important to know the rules of both your departure and arrival airports.

Even though you might be traveling between states that allow marijuana, it’s illegal to carry weed across state lines. This means you could face serious penalties. Always check the specific regulations of the places you’re traveling to and from to avoid any issues. For more information, visit our Costa Mesa Dispensary or Fullerton Dispensary to learn more about cannabis laws and safe travel tips.