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Cannabis Is Now Free to Move About Los Angeles International Airport

Published on September 26, 2018 · Last updated July 28, 2020

Traveling with cannabis just got a little less stressful at one major world transit hub.

The Los Angeles International Airport updated its public marijuana policy on its website recently to green-light transporting legal amounts of cannabis through security checkpoints and onto planes. Using cannabis at the airport, of course, remains verboten. According to LAX’s new public Marijuana Policy:

While federal law prohibits the possession of marijuana (inclusive of federal airspace), California’s passage of proposition 64, effective January 1, 2018, allows for individuals 21 years of age or older to possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana for personal consumption. In accordance with Proposition 64, the Los Angeles Airport Police Department will allow passengers to travel through LAX with up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana. However, passengers should be aware that marijuana laws vary state by state and they are encouraged to check the laws of the states in which they plan to travel.

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The policy is an update on past marijuana guidance for passengers, which stated that if Transportation Security Administration officials caught you with weed in your luggage, they would turn you over to local police for potential arrest and adjudication.

'There wasn’t much they could do before.'

Local police enforce cannabis policies differently depending on location, so while San Francisco International travelers might get one response to flying with cannabis, John Wayne Airport travelers in Orange County, CA, might get a different one.

Legalization Proposition 64 made personal possession of cannabis legal for adults 21 and older in California, effective on election night 2016. As such, there’s little for local police in the state to enforce when it comes to having personal amounts of cannabis on you.

“There wasn’t much they could do before,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, a national cannabis consumer advocacy group.

LAX’s policy codifies the current position of the Los Angeles Police Department, who have better things to worry about than the vape pen in your bag.

“It exemplifies the widespread cultural shift and acceptance of marijuana that is ongoing in the state of California,” Armentano said.

News of LAX’s revised policy broke across the internet this morning, eliciting cheers from some travelers.

“That’s dope and shocking to be honest,” commented nuckols805 on the Instagram post of leading California cultivators Jungle Boys.

“Hell yea. Closer and closer to legalizing it federally everywhere,” commented zack_skywalkr.

Don’t get too excited, though. You are still at risk of arrest if you land in a prohibition state with marijuana.

“This clarification ought to provide relief to those who travel within the state of California,” said Armentano. “But this relief does not necessarily extend to those who fly outside of the boundaries of California.

And don’t bring more than personal limits under Prop 64. That’s one ounce of flower or eight grams of hash. Medical patients who show up at airports with several pounds of cannabis claiming a medical need will still likely be arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking. And a judge will be very skeptical of your medical needs claims.

Now get out there and book that holiday travel before prices rise even further! Just don’t fly to Idaho.

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David Downs
David Downs
Leafly Senior Editor David Downs is the former Cannabis Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. He's appeared on The Today Show, and written for Scientific American, The New York Times, WIRED, Rolling Stone, The Onion A/V Club, High Times, and many more outlets. He is a 2023 judge for The Emerald Cup, and has covered weed since 2009.
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