Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on December 22, 2022

Whether you’re a recreational marijuana user going on a holiday, or a medical marijuana user who is using weed as a medicine, you’ve probably wondered whether you can bring your weed stash or some other cannabis products with you while you’re on the plane. In this article, we’ll focus on answering that exact question, so read on.

Can You Bring Weed on a Plane?

To give you the answer to this question, we first need to address the rules and regulations that apply in airports as well as who maintains the security inside airports.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA)

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the agency that is responsible for the security of the public traveling in the US. This federal agency is part of the US Department of Homeland Security and its main mission is improving airport security procedures and maintaining the safety and security of air travel. The screening officers that you see in airports are, in fact, employees of the agency. They’re mainly focused on airport security and detecting potential threats to aviation and passengers, so finding illegal drugs isn’t part of their job description, but if you’re found in possession of marijuana, they may call local law enforcement to deal with the situation.

However, there are strict regulations when it comes to which items you’re allowed to bring on the plane in carry-on luggage and which items can be placed in the checked-in luggage. Airport security is imperative for this organization which is why the TSA randomly checks luggage before loading it on the plane.

Can You Bring Your Cannabis Onboard?

While recreational marijuana is legal in some US states, such as California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and others, it still remains an illegal drug under federal law. According to the website of the Federal Aviation Administration, it’s prohibited to bring marijuana on the plane since it’s still illegal on a federal level.

Keep in mind that the TSA does random checks of airport luggage and while their main purpose isn’t searching for illegal drugs, other illegal substances aren’t allowed in carry-on bags and checked bags. The bags are checked under an x-ray machine, and are then opened if there’s reason to suspect that an illegal object may be inside.

What Happens if You Are Caught With Weed by the TSA?

Since cannabis is federally illegal and the airspace is considered federal territory, bringing weed on a plane is illegal regardless of whether the state has legalized marijuana or not. If you’re caught by the TSA in possession of marijuana during a security screening procedure, the TSA security officer will likely hand you over to the local law enforcement officer. If this happens, the local police will have to decide the outcome of your case. The outcome varies from state to state, depending on the regulation each state has with regard to marijuana possession. The local authorities will most likely adhere to state laws, although that isn’t 100% certain.

While there is a chance that nothing will happen to you, except that you’ll need to throw away all your weed, if you’re found in possession of weed in a state where marijuana possession is still a criminal offense, you risk paying a huge fine, or even spending some time in jail.

The cannabis plant as well as other cannabis products, such as vape pens, vaporizers, edibles such as gummies, weed brownies, dab wax, hash oils, vape cartridges, and even cannabutter, are all illegal to carry under federal law. Therefore, we would advise you against trying to sneak weed on the plane and across state lines as well.

Remember that for the past few years, CBD has become legal on a federal level, which includes all cannabis products that contain less than 0.3% THC. So, if you bring weed that has lower THC levels than the federal threshold, you’re good to go.

What About Medical Marijuana?

While bringing recreational cannabis on а plane is definitely illegal, the same does not apply to medical marijuana patients. If you’re a legal carrier of a card for medical marijuana, you can transport a small amount of cannabis in your luggage. However, if you don’t have your card on you, you may face the same penalties as recreational marijuana users do. Your weed can get confiscated and you may get a ticket for possession of marijuana, though this mostly depends on state laws. In states where medical marijuana is legal, they may let you off with just a ticket if you’re caught without your card, and then let you catch your flight. 

In states where cannabis is legal for recreational use by state law, you can carry around weed at the airport, though you may not be able to bring it on the plane. Such is the case in San Francisco International (SFO), Oakland International Airport (OAK), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and others. However, it’s always best to check the regulations for specific airports and specific states that you’ll be flying from.

According to the regulations posted on the Transport Security Administration’s website, medical marijuana can be brought on the plane under special Instructions.

Landing in Another Airport With Medical Marijuana

Just because you flew from San Francisco International (SFO), Oakland International Airport (OAK), or Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and you brought medical marijuana legally, that doesn’t mean that the laws in the other airport you’re flying to are the same. We advise against sneaking weed on an airplane in one way or another as that can get you into trouble with local law enforcement once you land.

Final Thoughts

It’s best not to risk it by bringing weed on a plane, even if you could legally bring it in a particular state. Since weed is illegal on a federal level, it’s best not to have to deal with Airport Security or the TSA Agents and have to explain why you have an illegal drug on you. They can report you to the local police, and you could get a fine, or worse, end up in jail for marijuana possession.

We’d also advise against hiding cannabis in carry-on bags or checked bags because if Airport Security or TSA Agents bring out weed-sniffing dogs or decide to randomly check your bag, you could also get in trouble.

Why not make your trip enjoyable and stress-free by deciding to buy weed in the city where you land. Nowadays, recreational marijuana is legal in over 18 US states, while medical marijuana is legal in over 36 US states. The best option would be to land, and while you’re sightseeing, or whatever you’re doing in the city, take a detour and head to the closest licensed dispensary. There, you can choose from a wide variety of cannabis products, such as vapes, bongs, edibles, tinctures, hash, and even cannabis flowers. And who knows, you may even end up finding new weed strains that may not have been available in the dispensary in your hometown.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.