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Written by Attorney Seth Morris


Marijuana is constantly in the news as more and more states legalize it. However, with new laws come new questions. Can you take it between states? What about airports or on planes? Taking these risks without knowing what you can and can’t do could land you in jail, so it’s essential to understand what the law says and what to do if TSA catches you with Marijuana.

What Are the Laws Involving Bringing Marijuana on a Plane in Oakland?

To start, you need to know the difference between state and federal land. In California, marijuana is legal but still illegal under federal law. Airplanes fall under federal jurisdiction, not state jurisdiction. As a result, it is illegal to bring marijuana on a plane.

What Are the Potential Penalties?

The TSA handles these types of violations. The TSA has spoken out several times on this topic, noting that they may refer local law violations to law enforcement. A lot depends on the amount of marijuana and your age.

Less Than 28.5 Grams or 8 Grams of Concentrated Cannabis

If you have less than 28.5 grams of cannabis or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis, that isn’t generally enough to flag you for selling or dealing drugs.

Those between 18 and 20 may face a fine of up to $100, and those under 18 may have to do community service and attend drug counseling.

Those who are 21 or over will not face penalties.

More Than 28.5 Grams

If you carry more than 28.5 grams, you will likely face stiffer penalties. People 18 or older may be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.

People under 18 may have to do more community service and spend more time in drug counseling.

What Happens if You’re Caught With Marijuana at the Oakland Airport?

What can happen and what is likely to occur are two different things. The TSA can refer you to local law enforcement if they catch you with marijuana at the airport. This may or may not lead to citations or criminal charges.

However, they are also likely to confiscate and dispose of the drugs and send you on your way. While leaving you without items you spent money on, it also means avoiding legal trouble. If you are traveling with a large amount—enough to be suspected of trafficking drugs—you should expect to be referred to law enforcement.

What is TSA’s Stance on Marijuana?

The TSA has clarified on social media that they don’t intentionally search for marijuana while screening luggage. Their goal is to keep passengers safe, not serve as law enforcement. Marijuana isn’t a safety threat, so they don’t go looking for illegal drugs.

However, this does not mean they will look the other way if they find it. Under federal law, they are obligated to notify local law enforcement agencies.

What Should You Do If TSA Finds Marijuana?

Avoid getting yourself in more trouble by talking or trying to explain yourself. Your marijuana will likely be disposed of, you’ll be scolded, and you’ll be able to go on your way.

The less you have, the more likely your case will have a positive outcome. You should protect your rights by consulting an attorney regardless of the risk.

Can You Bring Marijuana on a Plane With a Medical Card?

You cannot bring marijuana on a plane with a medical card. Medical cards are only valid in the state where they are issued, and an airplane is under federal jurisdiction. Your state medical marijuana card means nothing on an aircraft, and you risk serious legal issues if caught.

You might be heading to a state where marijuana is legal, but that doesn’t matter, as airplanes fall under federal jurisdiction. Flying with marijuana is an illegal act.
Even if you only carry a little bit of marijuana or a medical card, it is not worth the risk of getting caught and facing legal issues. If it does happen, be proactive and hire an attorney.

Choose Morris Law for Your Oakland Drug Charge Defense Needs

If you’ve been caught bringing marijuana into an airport, find out how the Oakland drug possession charge attorneys at Morris Law can help you. Give us a call or reach out online to schedule a  free consultation immediately.