travel with medical marijuanaIn the United States, traveling with medical marijuana means you will navigate many legal gray zones. The repercussions depend on the specific state rules. Living in a state that allows the use and possession of medical marijuana are fine as long as you stay there. Traversing states that have not yet acknowledged the use of medical marijuana for people with chronic pain, cancer, glaucoma, and Alzheimer’s disease brings dire complications. In some cases, you may have to dump your weed at the airport or face jail term as punishment for possession of illegal drugs.

Some people have lost their medical supply because they were found guilty of flying with medical marijuana. There are many gray zones and complicated definitions of restrictions. For example, although medical marijuana is illegal in the United Kingdom, cannabis-based products are allowed. The government has, however, reviewed the laws, and set to lift the ban. Public outcry led to this decision. Soon, travelling with medical cannabis in Britain will no longer be an issue to worry about.

The Risk of Traveling with Marijuana

Twenty-nine states in the U.S have strict prohibition rules against use and possession of marijuana. The laws prohibit traveling with medical cannabis even with a valid prescription from a doctor. This means that you can only travel to states and countries that allow the use of cannabis products. If you are found in possession of marijuana in restricted zones, it means you are guilty of violating the federal law.

The decision to travel with medical marijuana to another place such as from California to Washington may not be the big problem. However, crossing the border with the product is the act that makes it illegal. Since federal and state laws collide, flying with medical cannabis means you are risking a confrontation with a legal gray zone.

Airport Rules

Not all airports have the same general rules on every product. So can you bring medical weed on a plane in the United States?

This question has no direct answer because it depends on the airport you are using. For example, there are airports that have legalized recreational marijuana hence possession of medical marijuana is safe and legal. Logan International Airport in Boston, as well as the Lax airport in Los Angeles, are some of the freest places to use marijuana.

Although Denver International Airport is located in Colorado—where medical weed is legal—the airport laws restrict possession on their premises. The security checkpoints are under federal authority and hence the state laws do not apply.

Since the federal law is responsible for Transportation Security Administrative screening procedures, medical marijuana remains an illegal product. All other cannabis-infused products such as cannabidiol oil for epilepsy are also prohibited.

Security Procedures

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is mainly focused on identifying security threats such as suspicious terrorism threats. Finding you in possession of medical marijuana is not much of an issue to them. Medical and recreation marijuana are treated as the same illegal content. They will, therefore, treat your product as part of other illegal items in your luggage. You will be handed over to the local police.

Depending on the airport, your punishment for possession of medical marijuana varies. For example, if the TSA find you in possession of the product they will report to the Massachusetts State police. It will be up to the state trooper to decide whether you are guilty. If you are not breaking the law, you may be asked to dispose of the item at the airport before proceeding with the flight. The TSA officials do not hold on to people who are cleared from the charges by their state laws. They, however, will not let you go with the item.

Travelling to other countries is more complicated than crossing state borders in the United States. For example, travelling to the United Arab Emirates with cannabis-induced products poses high penalties. You may get a four-year imprisonment sentence or possession of the smallest amount of marijuana.  Other countries with zero tolerance for cannabis are Japan, most Arab, and African countries.

Stay Safe

To stay out of trouble, you need to do proper research about your destination before embarking on a journey. Find out whether medical cannabis is allowed in your destination. If you are not sure about the rules of the destination, it would be safer not to carry the product and purchase it when you arrive. If it is available, you will be lucky. If however, you find out after arriving at the destination that there are strict rules against possession of marijuana, you will be safe from prosecution.

If you are highly dependent on the medication, determine your tolerance of the risk. This does not mean you will not travel with your medication anywhere. It is totally possible to carry along your cannabis-infused products without any legal repercussions.


Most places still have strict policies prohibiting the use and possession of marijuana and cannabis-induced products for whatever the reason (recreational or medical). It is risky to carry along your product to the airport. You may face a jail term that will disrupt the rest of your life just because you did not know or assumed the security officials will accept the doctor’s prescription note.