California Air Travelers May See Marijuana Policies Relax

With legalization of adult-use marijuana coming tomorrow, California air travelers are wondering if policies about marijuana possession and use will change at airports. It remains a complicated issue, however some law enforcement agencies seem to believe that laws will not be strictly enforced.

What travelers should continue to be very wary of is traveling out of state with marijuana as laws are significantly different from state to state. While it is not that TSA can detect edibles or flower, if they happen to see it during a bag check they will immediately inform law enforcement for in-state or out-of-state flights.

“It’s going to be a very gray area,” said officer Rob Pedregon, a spokesman for the police force at Los Angeles International Airport, the nation’s second busiest airport.

“We’re still in the state of California,” he said. “Open that [airplane] door on the other end” and passengers are subject to a whole different set of local laws.

“We’re really not in a place to do anything,” said Sgt. Ray Kelly of the sheriff’s office in Alameda County, California, where Oakland International Airport is located.

Travelers may be asked to dispose of their weed before passing through security, but under the California law individuals can have less than an ounce of marijuana on them.

“If the TSA says we don’t want it [to get into the airport], we would have to intervene,” Kelly said, adding that the county’s law enforcement is more concerned by children who may accidentally eat marijuana candy or drivers who are impaired from marijuana use.

Before travelers consider giving new meaning to “red-eye flight,” note that airlines reserve the right to turn passengers away if they appear intoxicated, just as they do if they are acting violently, yelling, or appear ill.

“We’re not going to let a passenger who’s not fit to fly on an aircraft,” said American Airlines spokesman Ross Feinstein.

For now, bringing marijuana to an airport remains inadvisable, however California seems to be unsure of what exactly its policies will be at airports moving forward. Can you imagine having marijuana bars at airports and indulging before boarding flights?

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Richard Lowe

Richard Lowe is a 14-year veteran of the financial sector with licenses as a commodity broker (Series 3) and investment advisor representative (IAR Series 65). Along with a focus on raising capital for the firms he was employed with, he also wrote and edited much of the content published by them. He holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts. He has been a longtime advocate for marijuana legalization due to the social injustices associated with marijuana prohibition and the strong potential for the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

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