By / June 17, 2019

TSA allows hemp products on flights, but there’s a catch

The Transportation Security Administration is now allowing travelers to bring with them their hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products and medical marijuana. On the “What Can I Bring” section on the agency’s website, it now says “yes” for these items.

Epidiolex – the only drug allowed on flights

So, can travelers just fly in and out on flights with hemp products with them? The answer is, not exactly. The FDA must approve of hemp and marijuana products.

The problem is that FDA regulations on hemp-derived CBD products remain blurry at this point. The FDA’s first public hearing on regulating CBD held on May 31 still failed to clarify things. FDA bans any food, beverage, health supplements, and drugs with CBD, not even if hemp is technically legal nationwide.

As it stands, flights allow only Epidiolex, the FDA-approved product made with CBD. Epidiolex treats severe pediatric epilepsy. In fact, the TSA only made the changes because Epidiolex is FDA approved.

CBD arrests
There were cases of arrests where drug possession charges were based on a single bottle of CBD. (Source)

Confusing laws on hemp

The laws on both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana differ per state. People have always been careful with how they carry their products with them during travel as federal transportation rules have always been tough on the matter. Passengers flying between two states with different marijuana laws have trouble.

Arrests on CBD possession increased this year

According to NBC 5 investigations, arrests have increased this year. In fact, there were cases of arrests where drug possession charges were based on a single bottle of CBD.

“I would say a year ago it (CBD related arrests) was almost non-existent,” Cleatus Hunt Jr., port director at the airport for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, told NBC. “But in the last six months, the interception rate for that (CBD) has skyrocketed.” 

There had also been nationwide raids on businesses, cafes, and similar establishments beginning this year.

CBD oil
A 69-year-old woman was also arrested at a Disney World checkpoint in Orlando for having CBD oil. (Source)

Hemp is legal nationwide

The Office of the General Counsel for the United States Department of Agriculture reinforces that hemp is legal and can be shipped or even transported between states.

The USDA reaffirmed these points in a letter published on May 28:

(a) hemp is no longer a controlled substance;

(b) while states may prohibit the cultivation of hemp within their borders, they cannot interfere with the interstate transportation or shipment of hemp that is lawfully produced under the Agricultural Act of 2014, state-level pilot programs, or (after the USDA publishes regulations implementing the hemp production provisions of the 2018 Farm Bill) a state or tribal plan or a license issued by the USDA.


(Featured Image by DepositPhotos)

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