With our country’s ever evolving views on marijuana, it is understandable that traveling with it has become a popular question. In fact, after the president pardoned simple possession of marijuana, some may have thought marijuana is entirely legal now. However, that is simply not the case at the federal level and not here in northern Mississippi.
So, can I travel with it?
The answer is still no. Regardless of the actions of the current administration and the various legalization schemes throughout the states, traveling with weed is still illegal. It is illegal to take it on the airplane, fly with it and transport it between states. Even if both states have legalized marijuana, it is still a federal crime to possess or transport it.
Is the TSA looking for it?
The answer is also no. The Transportation Security Administration is not a drug enforcement agency, and as such, when it searches passengers, their baggage and cargo, TSA officers are not looking for marijuana (or any drug for that matter). However, they do help enforcement federal law, which is why they do not ignore marijuana when they find it.
What happens when they do find it?
This will really depend on which airport you are in and where that airport is located. Some airports have said they will no longer stop people with small amounts, but those are in states that have completely decriminalized marijuana. For those states where it is still (mostly) illegal, like in Mississippi, if TSA finds marijuana, you likely will not make your flight. You will be held by TSA for the airport or local police. This is because TSA officers are not actually law enforcement or empowered to make arrests. They hold you for the police, who then arrest and charge you. Depending on the amount, you could simply be ticketed and released. If not, you may be heading to jail.
What happens next?
Once you receive the ticket or are locked up, you proceed through the criminal justice system just like anyone else charged with a drug possession and distribution. Remember, you have the right to remain silent throughout the process, and once you are under arrest, you do have the right to counsel. Ask for one. Do not answer any questions until you speak with your Southaven, Mississippi, lawyer.