WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) now is permitting passengers to bring cannabis-based medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on flights.
So far, Epidiolex is the only cannabis medication to receive approval from the FDA. The CBD-based drug, made by GW Pharmaceuticals, treats epilepsy in children. The policy change is reflected in an update on the TSA website.
“Products/medications that contain hemp-derived CBD or are approved by the FDA are legal as long as it is produced within the regulations defined by the law under the Agriculture Improvement Act 2018,” TSA said on its website.
Despite the policy change, TSA is discouraging passengers from attempting to board flights with non-FDA approved cannabis medications.
“Possession of marijuana and certain cannabis-infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law,” TSA said. “TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law, including possession of marijuana and certain cannabis-infused products.”
However, violations of cannabis policy are typically referred to local law enforcement and not federal agents. The potential penalties are subject to local regulations. Cannabis policies vary from airport to airport. Last year, LAX officially stated passengers, in accordance with Proposition 64, could fly out with 28.5 grams or less of cannabis flower.
TSA signaled cannabis enforcement is not a high priority for the agency. “TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers,” the agency said. “Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”
After passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in December, further calls for clarity on federal cannabis and CBD laws have been increasing. A public hearing on CBD policy will be held by the FDA on Friday, May 31.