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Cannabis Travelers Beware: Fly LAX To Phoenix With Marijuana And Land In Jail

Cannabis Travelers Beware: Fly LAX To Phoenix With Marijuana And Land In Jail

By Vince Imhoff, Managing Director of Imhoff & Associates PC.

Interstate airline travelers, beware: never bring even the smallest amount of marijuana from a state such as California, where recreational use is legalized, to Arizona where possession with intent to deliver is a felony.

Flying LAX to Phoenix with marijuana and driving to your hotel in a rental car has the potential to ruin your day, your reputation and your career. You could be accused of being a drug dealer.

So be nice to the TSA people as you pass through security; there is nothing stopping TSA inspectors at LAX from alerting their counterparts in Phoenix that a person of interest will be landing soon. 

We are in a period of transition from the criminalization of cannabis to its near global acceptance, at least for medicinal purposes. But not being aware of the conflicting laws, regulations and enforcement protocols between both the Federal government and the states, and between individual states, can land you in jail and give you a criminal record.

Some facts:

  • In 2018 hemp and hemp-derived CBD were removed from the Schedule 1 drug tier, effectively legalizing CBD at the Federal level. But don’t confuse CBD with marijuana.
  • Effective January 1, 2018 California allowed individuals 21 years of age or older to possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana for personal consumption. Los Angeles Airport Police Division (APD) updated their policy and procedures to conform to the change in law. TSA at LAX also adopted the California policy, but the TSA screening stations are under Federal jurisdiction. Travelers beware.
  • TSA now allows CBD products on airplanes, unless they contain more than 0.3 percent THC.  But what happens when you fly from LAX, which is in a state that legalized recreational marijuana, to Phoenix, in a state where marijuana is illegal? And don’t take any illegal product with you when you rent a car, it would be breaking a second law in Arizona.
  • Travelling interstate, it’s a good idea to carry a medical marijuana card as an added safeguard to prove you have no intention of selling the cannabis you possess.
  • Do not assume that just because TSA does not confiscate your marijuana at LAX it does not report you to the TSA at your destination. Again, don’t give TSA inspectors any reason to report you.

Nationwide cannabis enforcement trends indicate Federal cannabis laws that conflict with the states will not be enforced and over time disolve into this new Federalism. But between now and then, don’t temp fate.

Vince Imhoff, Founder and Managing Partner of Imhoff & Associates, PC, the nation’s largest criminal defense network with 650 attorneys in 49 states. Formerly, Vince Imhoff ran Johnny Cochran’s criminal defense practice, leaving upon Mr. Cochran’s death to restart his own firm.

Photo by Javier Hasse.

The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

Posted-In: Imhoff & Associates Travel CannabisCannabis News Education Travel Markets General


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