Medical marijuana patients have been able to fly domestically with their medicine when leaving several California airports as long as they are carrying 8 ounces or less of dried marijuana or equivalent in cannabis product (the California state legal limit for medical marijuana). You may not, however, fly with marijuana plants.
Throughout the state of California, the transportation, cultivation, possession and use of medical marijuana is legal.
The limits are:
- California State Limit: up to 8 oz. dried marijuana or equivalent
- Local Ordinance / County Limit: Can be more than the state limit but not less
- Limit Defined by Medical Marijuana Doctor: amount determined by physician to meet the medical need of the patient, can be more than the State limit, must be stated in written medical marijuana recommendation letter.
Recent TSA article: TSA weighs allowing passengers to fly with marijuana
Both Oakland and San Francisco airports are reported to be medical marijuana friendly, with some patients declaring ahead of time that they were traveling with marijuana or medicinal products and others merely passing through security with their legally approved amount of medicine tucked into carry-on luggage.
Probably the safest way to avoid being delayed at security is to call the airport division of the San Francisco or Oakland Police Department beforehand and ask what their current policy is. As of May 2012, passengers with approved documents showing they are medical marijuana patients have been allowed to fly out of SFO and Oakland with up to the amount noted on their MMIC or physician’s letter. The TSA at security may call over the local police to verify that your medical marijuana documents are legitimate, but otherwise they let you pass through. According to our research, if you make it on the plane, you do not have to worry once you get off in the arrival city as TSO does not alert authorities at your destination.
Several patients have noted the importance of carrying only what is needed for your personal consumption, to be inconspicuous in the manner in which you transport your medicine, and never putting marijuana, edibles, or other related items in checked luggage but always taking it as carry-on. Many patients have shared that when following these guidelines, even without alerting authorities prior to arrival, they have passed through security without a problem, but always carry their documents just in case.
Flying from California to Another State
As stated above, if you make it onto your flight without a problem, you will be fine upon arrival in another state as you do not pass through security again, unless traveling internationally. If you are visiting a state that has not passed marijuana laws allowing for medicinal use, then you do risk being charged and arrested if local authorities find marijuana in your possession as the law does not protect you once you cross state lines.
If it is another ‘friendly’ state, then the rules vary. Some states say you must have a MMIC or physician’s letter issued from within that same state to possess and use medical marijuana. Other states have ‘reciprocal’ benefits. It’s best to check with your destination city as state specific requirements vary.
Remember, flying out of a medical marijuana “friendly” airport can be without hassle, but if you land in another state that has not passed marijuana laws allowing medicinal use, plan on taking only what you will need while away on your trip and returning with nothing, including implements of use.
For more information on Flying with Medical Marijuana, here is a direct link to TSA’s policy.