Whether you need it for medical purposes, or you simply like the idea of checking out the Louvre with a good high going, you’ve found your way here because you’re wondering how to travel internationally with weed. It’s an increasingly common question as more and more states and countries are legalizing cannabis to varying degrees, leaving many people wondering where they stand when it comes to flying in planes and crossing borders.
So here’s the dope.
Is It Legal to Travel Internationally with Weed?
This is a big grey area that seems to have no hard and fast rules, but for all practical purposes the answer is no, it isn’t legal to travel internationally with weed, even if you’re going someplace where it isn’t prohibited.
That being said, enforcement tends to vary depending on where you happen to be. The TSA, for example, is actually relatively lax on flying with weed, especially if you’re flying in or out of a state where it’s legal. According to the TSA website:
“TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other drugs. In the event a substance that appears to be marijuana is observed during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer. Whether or not marijuana is considered legal under local law is not relevant to TSA screening because TSA is governed by federal law.
Federal law provides no basis to treat medical marijuana any differently than non-medical marijuana. Even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.”
By all reports, TSA is most likely to confiscate your weed, or they’ll allow you to return it to your car or give it to a friend, though depending on your local police you might be facing harsher penalties. But many, many people are allowed to fly with weed, whether because it wasn’t found or TSA decided to look the other way.
Coming in and out of foreign countries with weed, however, can be another story. If your stash is found during a search at a border or custom checkpoint, the local attitudes and laws toward cannabis will dictate the outcome. In weed-friendly places like the Balkans or the Netherlands you might have no problem at all. But under the wrong circumstances, things can go all “Midnight Express” real fast.
Tips for Flying Internationally with Weed
If you must have weed wherever you’re going, here are a few tips:
Just don’t bring any.
Avoid the risk and find it at your destination.
Contact a dispensary.
If you’re going to a country where medicinal or recreational cannabis are legal, contact a dispensary there to see if you can just load up when you arrive. If you can’t for any reason – like the need for a local medicinal card – ask their opinion of flying in and out of the country.
Bring the right amount.
If you’re going to a place where weed is legal, there is likely some kind of quantity limit. Be sure to stay within these limits.
Many people travel internationally with weed each year, so done smart and legally it’s clearly possible. But depending on the situation, there can be hefty risks ranging from fines to jail time. At the very least you could lose your bud and end up being detained long enough to miss your flight. So consider whether or not you want to fly with weed carefully.