Marijuana: TSA says flying between Colorado and Washington with herb will be okay...sort of

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Mike, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Denver Westword Blog: Marijuana: TSA says flying between Colorado and Washington with herb will be okay...sort of

    According to the Transportation Security Administration, if medical marijuana patients' paperwork checks out, they can board a flight with meds in tow as long as they are headed to a medical marijuana state that honors Colorado red cards. So...now that voters in Washington and Colorado have legalized small amounts of marijuana for adults over 21, does that mean you'll be able to fly between those states with your stash? Yes and no.


    We posed our question to TSA spokesman David Castelveter earlier this week, and the response we received is somewhat ambiguous. Basically, Castelveter told us that looking for marijuana isn't a priority for TSA agents. In fact, he revealed that the TSA doesn't search specifically for drugs at all. But if marijuana is found during a screening, agents will refer the matter to local law enforcement -- who may care a lot more than the TSA does.

    "TSA doesn't search specifically for ..." = bull:poop:!

    And what happens if your flight is diverted, or you are bumped during a connection?

    Or you are just waiting at the gate for your connection in a non-marijuana-friendly state and they airport cops just happen to wander by with a dog?

    Etc.
     
  2. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    The big problem here is that since it remains illegal under federal law, any law enforcement officer along the way can arrest you. Also many airports have a heavy CBP presence, although they usually turn routine drug possession cases over to local law enforcement for prosecution.
     
  3. RB

    RB Founding Member

    If TSA is searching for drugs in any way, shape, or form they are in violation of the limited administrative search doctrine.
     
  4. Monica47

    Monica47 Original Member

    John Corbett posted a comment urging people not to do this specifically because of federal law. Even if it is legal in Colorado and Washington the TSA would hardly be expected to know the law since they don't even know their own regulations.
     
  5. RB

    RB Founding Member

    The bigger point is that state law will not supercede federal law if some LEO wants to push the issue. Even if no charges result a person would likely miss their flight and spend a day playing cops and robbers.
     
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    A LEO cannot choose to enforce federal law. Only federal prosecutors can do that. As a general rule, federal law enforcement and prosecutors leave routine possession cases to state and local authorities.

    What the local LEO can do (unless his department's policy prohibits it and puts some teeth behind the policy) is to arrest you, to be held until the feds decide not to bother. This is a major risk here, as well as exposure as you transit through states where the marijuana restrictions have not been relaxes.

    The "full faith and credit clause" of the Constitution won't apply to activities that are illegal under federal law.
     
  7. I'm pretty annoyed by the ambiguity coming out of the TSA on this one. As we know, what TSA spokespeople claim doesn't matter if you get some jerk screener who didn't get the memo or has some chip on their shoulder. The TSA should either be firmly saying no, you still can't bring your weed, or we absolutely will not confiscate weed at Colorado checkpoints. This business about "if your paperwork checks out" is complete fascism -- TSA has no business checking paperwork for medical marijuana. Weed is neither weapons, explosives, nor incendiary devices, period. And why, might I ask, can't I fly out of my own state with weed if I procure the state medical card? I'm pretty sure I can't. And if I'm not wrong, Colorado just legalized recreational marijuana, so paperwork shouldn't be an issue in that state anymore, if TSA isn't going to be busting people on federal law.

    Maybe the LEO's in Colorado are going to suddenly be cool and refuse to play ball with the TSA, but I'll believe it when I see it. This should have been the only answer from David Castelveter:

    Only why be subtle? It's true. They can ruin your day if they don't like what t-shirt you're wearing. What I think is going to happen is screeners in need of a high are going to be confiscating pot because it qualifies as a liquid now, or some other completely absurdist theater.
     
  8. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I would suggest that Federal LEO's often choose to enforce or not enforce standing law. How many illegal immigrants live in your community without concern of the laws? Yet throw a rock over the border and chances are good of being shot by the same LEO's groups.
     
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