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Weed Is Finally Legal to Pack When Flying Out of LAX, But There’s a Catch

L AX announced back in January 2018 its policy permitting travelers to bring small amounts of weed through security in their carry-on bags with one big caveat: You can carry cannabis anywhere inside the airport up until you get to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) area.

That’s where TSA regulations rule. While bud is legal in several U.S. states, it remains illegal on the federal level. Here in California, voters in 2016 passed Proposition 64, the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Prop. 64, which made it legal as of Jan. 1 in California for people 21 years and older to have as much as 28.5 grams of marijuana (that’s about one ounce) and eight grams of concentrated marijuana for personal consumption.

Although the policy change took place when the law went into effect, not many people noticed until very recently, according to Assistant Public Information Officer Alicia Hernandez of the LAX Airport Police Department.

Basically, all LAX is allowing travelers over the age of 21 to do is enter the airport with the permitted amounts of pot: “In accordance with Proposition 64, the Los Angeles Airport Police Department will allow passengers to travel through LAX with up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana,” according to the LAX policy announcement .

Weed Map by Erick Galindo.

So, what happens when you go through TSA and what happens at your travel destination depends — a lot. A look at this current L.A. Taco legal weed map of the U.S. will show you that pot is only totally legal in seven states and the District of Columbia. And as far as TSA is concerned, any kind of weed is still illegal under federal law.

TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers told L.A. Taco that while TSA’s primary concern is security threats, if a TSA agent finds marijuana during a security check of your carry-on or checked bag, they will report it to airport law enforcement. “Whether or not the passenger is allowed to travel with marijuana is up to law enforcement’s discretion.”

Dankers noted that the passenger’s airport of origin or destination is not taken into account.

“It is important for me to note that TSA’s response to the discovery of marijuana is the same in every state and at every airport – regardless of whether marijuana has been or is going to be legalized,” she explained. “This also covers medical marijuana.”

And if you do get it past TSA, then what?

T here is your travel destination to consider. If you’re traveling anywhere within California, or from LAX to say, Boulder, Colorado, then you should be fine. But if you’re traveling internationally, or even from L.A. to anywhere in Texas, think again. After all, a traveler is still subject to local laws wherever they might be going, even if they carry a valid medical marijuana card for the place where they live.

So, study up before packing your baggies on your way out of L.A. Pot is still illegal on the federal level — and Jeff Sessions is the attorney general. We’re a very long way from the law on pot before 1996 when cannabis was illegal everywhere. In little more than two decades, 21 states have legalized medical marijuana, and nine have legalized both medical and recreational cannabis.

[UPDATE, 9/16] According to a report by the Los Angeles times, pot smuggling arrests at LAX increased by 166 percent since marijuana legalization.

“Authorities at LAX say they are encountering more and more airline passengers who are carrying small amounts of pot for personal use, but the number of checked bags stuffed entirely full of marijuana has soared as well,” the Times reports.

“I would say 29 out of 30 times they make it through without a problem,” a criminal lawyer named Bill Kroger Jr. tells the Times.

You can carry cannabis anywhere inside the airport up until you get to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) area. ]]>