When it comes to traveling by plane, we all know that airport security has gotten a lot stricter over the years with regards to what you can and cannot bring on a plane. But in an effort to make that information as clear as possible, there is a section of the Transportation Security Administration website that specifically addresses “What Can I Bring?” questions for flying. Since the TSA is a federal entity, it should come as no surprise that marijuana cannot be brought on a plane – not that some people don’t try, because they do. But for about an hour or so this week, it appeared that medical marijuana was finally something you were allowed to bring when you travel by air.
On Wednesday morning, Tom Angell reported the change on MassRoots right away to inform everyone that the TSA website now said that medical marijuana was allowed as a carry-on and in their checked luggage. But unfortunately, that change didn’t stick around for long after the TSA received word from Leafly (and likely other news sources as well) who were looking for confirmation on this change.
Lorie Dankers, a TSA representative, immediately responded to Leafly’s inquiry regarding the change, letting them know that while marijuana is never what they are looking for, it is always handled the same: it’s handed over to airport law enforcement to handle. Since the law enforcement working at airports are often local, it would make sense that in some states – where marijuana is legal – the person would be able to leave with it (or at least leave without consequences like arrest or jail time looming over them instead of a vacation).
“TSA’s response to the discovery of marijuana is the same in every state and at every airport – regardless of whether marijuana has been legalized in a state, “ Lorie Dankers wrote. “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.”
It didn’t take long for word to spread – but it also wasn’t long before the TSA fixed their website (within 2 hours of the original change that was made in error), first removing medical marijuana from the “What Can I Bring?” list, and then replacing it with the correct answer – no, you cannot bring medical marijuana on a plane, whether it is in your checked luggage or your carry on. The TSA also took to Twitter, to inform people that “a mistake was made”, along with a brief apology for any confusion on the matter.
“There was an error in the database of the ‘What can I bring?’ tool that is now corrected,” she wrote. “The information that I provided to you earlier is correct. And do note, the TSA website had been corrected as well.”
For a short time it seemed that maybe the federal government was giving us a look at a much brighter future for medical marijuana’s standing with the federal government – unfortunately it ended quickly and it was all due to an error with new web tools that keep the “What Can I Bring?” list up to date. So if you were expecting that you may be able to bring your MMJ on your next flight, whether the states you’re traveling between have both legalized medical marijuana (or marijuana in general) or not, you’re going to have to either consider an alternative means of travel, not traveling, or unfortunately going without when you do.