Even though hemp was declared a legal substance by the 2018 Farm Bill, there is still a lot of red tape surrounding it as an agricultural commodity. Why? Not everyone fully understands what it is and how it differs from marijuana.
Generally speaking, you should be able to walk around the country with your pockets full of hemp and not care about it. But because of the gray areas in hemp law, people still wonder – can you fly with CBD hemp flower?
- Does the TSA look for hemp flower?
- What happens if you get caught with cannabis flower at the airport?
- Do Human Detection Dogs Tell the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?
- Can You Fly with Hemp Flower?
- Hemp Flower Flight Tips
- Don’t Forget Certificates of Analysis
- Ditch the flowers
- Buy where you go
- Keep Calm
- Have a safe trip!
- YouTube video: CBD Hemp Flower: Can You Fly With It?
Does the TSA look for hemp flower?
It is the TSA’s job to look for immediate threats to the safety of passengers and guests. Believe it or not, drugs are not high on their list. In fact, everywhere in the world, the authority responsible for detecting banned substances will be customs at your destination.
But it doesn’t stop there. While the TSA does not actively search for drugs, they are required by law to notify the police when they encounter suspicious packages.
Why should cannabis enthusiasts worry about getting cannabis through the airport, especially when cannabis is not even a drug? It all lies in hemp’s close resemblance to marijuana.
Currently, even with our advanced technology, there is no immediate way to tell hemp and marijuana apart. At first glance, the two plants look the same, so visual inspection yields inconclusive results.
And you can send a sample to a lab for testing, but the results can come back in days, weeks or even months. So if the TSA agent finds reason to believe that your cannabis is actually marijuana, you could be in trouble.
What happens if you get caught with cannabis flower at the airport?
Let’s say you encounter a TSA agent who is not very familiar with cannabis and he decides that your stash is marijuana. What happens then? Of course your first option is to justify yourself. If you explain what your stash really is and provide evidence, you can get out of the situation.
However, if the agent insists that the stash is suspicious, he has every right to call the police. In the meantime, they can examine your cannabis and ask further questions to determine what the substance actually is.
Do they have the right to sanction you at that moment? That depends on where you are. Some states and cities have strict laws controlling the movement of cannabis. So if you are transporting cannabis in their jurisdiction, they can fine you or worse.
But if you are in an area where cannabis laws are quite lax, the worst you can expect is for them to confiscate your stash and possibly hold you until they can ground your flight.
Do Human Detection Dogs Tell the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?
Unfortunately, no. Keep in mind that hemp and marijuana come from exactly the same plant and have the same chemical component, the only difference being the THC levels. Therefore, they can be particularly indistinguishable at the level of smell.
This means that a guard dog can alert its handler to your stash, but only if it is trained to smell cannabis. Keep in mind that most existing airport security tools, from scanners to dogs, are used to detect immediate threats such as bombs and weapons.
In most cases, airport security dogs are not trained to sniff out drugs and other substances. Only when airport security has reason to believe that a passenger is carrying such substances will they contact the police, who have drug detection dogs.
Can You Fly with Hemp Flower?
Just based on the 2018 Farm Bill, you should be able to fly with hemp flower. But that’s not the only thing in the game. Keep in mind that hemp is legal at the federal level. However, many states, cities and counties have enacted their own laws on hemp use and possession.
If hemp laws have been relaxed both at your point of origin and at your destination, you should be able to fly hemp nationally. Therefore, it is important to read local guidelines first to see if your stash will get you in trouble with customs.
For people flying to other countries, laws regarding hemp and marijuana vary significantly. In fact, some states have local regulations just like in the US, so laws can vary from city to city. Be sure to familiarize yourself with them first so you can decide if your hemp stash has a place in your luggage.
Hemp Flower Flight Tips
If you can’t leave your hemp stash at home and need your daily dose of CBD during your travels, here are a few tips you can use to keep your stash alive and well.
Don’t Forget Certificates of Analysis
Every self-respecting hemp dealer issues Certificates of Analysis or CoAs with all hemp and cannabis products. These certificates show the results of laboratory tests on the chemical composition and content proving that the product is in fact legal cannabis.
In case you encounter a particularly zealous TSA agent, showing a CoA will help clear the smoke a bit. It’s also not a bad idea to bring along the original packaging, receipts and other supporting documentation to prove what your stash really is.
Ditch the flowers
Let’s face it – flowers look terrible. A packet of hemp flowers can definitely raise eyebrows at the airport. So to avoid all those dirty looks and unwanted TSA attention, it’s a good idea not to opt for flowers.
Products like CBD gummies, chocolates and even capsules are proving to be a little more discreet than the flower option. For capsules and tablets, some frequent travelers put them in supplement bottles to disguise them as completely different products.
Buy where you go
You’ve checked the local laws of your destination and hemp seems to get the green light. If you can avoid bringing cannabis to the airport, definitely avoid it
If you are flying to a place with relaxed, cannabis-friendly laws, you can stock up at home and buy the cannabis flower you need when you land. This is of course as long as you don’t have strict preferences regarding strains and brands.
In the event of an encounter with the TSA and police, don’t lose your temper. Show your documents, offer to take a drug test and deal with them in a polite and professional manner. An argumentative, nervous and unstable person will probably get you in more trouble than the cannabis flower itself.
And if after all your good-natured and decent efforts they still decide to take your stash, politely hand it over to them and be on your way.
Have a safe trip!
Your favorite cannabis flower strain won’t always have a place with you or in your checked luggage, but that depends on how well you research the rules and regulations in your area and at your destination.
Remember this information the next time you’re about to fly and protect your cannabis stash from the prying eyes of TSA agents and officials who are not so aware of cannabis laws.