How to fly with weed
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

How to Sneak Weed Onto an Airplane

SO, YOU’VE GONE AND DONE IT: You have purchased the marijuana. Perhaps you’ve taken advantage of America’s ever-growing recreational landscape and toked up on the slopes of Aspen or wandered down the neon-lit boulevards of Las Vegas after an edible. Maybe you’ve surreptitiously obtained a little extra from your bearded New York City delivery guy à la High Maintenance.

No matter the circumstance, we’ve all (well, most of us anyway) been there before: You want to move some weed from Point A, where you can acquire it easily, to Point B, where you cannot. Thus we have assembled for you a handy guide to how to transport your pot without getting caught. Rhyming! Let’s begin.

Editors’ disclaimer: When weighing the positives of getting on an airplane with pot, please weigh also the major negative. Namely, that federal law prohibits it. So obviously we can’t condone you testing these methods ... but we can vouch for them from personal experience. The risks you take from here on in are yours.

How much weed should I fly with?

OK, you’ve got your big-boy pants all pulled up and have decided it’s game on. This first bit of advice is simple: Don’t fly with much. It’s a federal crime. For old-school nugs (aka flower), one eighth is the max you’re gonna want to give this experiment; follow that same logic with edibles, et al. Think logically, here. If you have a backpack full of weed, TSA is gonna spot it and, at the very least, make you throw it out. And that would suck! A backpack full of weed is expensive!

Where should I hide my weed when I fly?

Not in your checked luggage. One reason is that the TSA conducts random searches on checked luggage alllll the time. Do you really want to spend your whole flight freaking out that those guys in sunglasses from The Matrix are gonna be waiting for you when you get off the plane? Your carry-on bags, on the other hand, are likely to go unsearched, so long as you’re not a dipshit.

As to how to hide it, don’t overthink things. The best, most successful lies are usually those that deviate as little as possible from the truth -- elaborate yarns not only force you to keep track of unintuitive things you made up, they’re almost always less believable. In this same vein, when you’re sneaking weed through TSA you want to skew closer to “in plain sight” than “in a jar of peanut butter.” The reality is that you’ll have an easier time getting your eighth through security keeping it in your pocket than stuffing it into Merkts cheese spread.

How to fly with weed

How to sneak weed through airport security

To TSA scanners, weed is a sort of nondescript blur. If you have a few extra joints, put them in a cigarette pack and then put that cigarette pack wherever you would normally put it. For buds, one Thrillist writer has found this trick to be the way to go: Empty any opaque bottle of over-the-counter medication like Ibuprofen. Put the weed in it. Put some cotton balls on top of weed. Put pills on top of cotton balls until it’s filled to the brim. If you’ve got TSA Precheck, you can put a baggie in your shoe. Up your butt is a bit overboard.

Even if you do get caught, there’s a good chance nothing will happen to you. Regional TSA spokesperson Carrie Harmon points Thrillist to the following statement: “TSA’s focus is on terrorism and security threats to the aircraft and its passengers. TSA’s screening procedures, which are governed by federal law, are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers. As has always been the case, if during the security screening procedures an officer discovers an item that may violate the law, TSA refers the matter to law enforcement. Law enforcement officials determine whether to initiate a criminal investigation.”

That means that if you’re trying to get some pot out of Portland and a TSA officer finds it, you’d be referred to a Portland cop who would make you throw it out, possibly while making a Phish joke. Then you’d be free to go. If you’re leaving a state where marijuana possession is still a criminal offense, we aren’t really sure why you’re trying to fly it out of there in the first place, but chances are the TSA personnel in Waco are far less accustomed to spotting weed than the ones in Denver.
MORE: How the once-hated DIA became the No. 1 airport in the country

Okay, what about edibles?

Edibles are the easiest to fly with by far. Gummies go into an empty bag of Haribo gummy bears. Shatter and wax go into one of those weird honey candy bags. And so on and so forth. Alike packaging will keep the security guard moving as they search for your tweezers or whatever else your dumb ass forgot to take out. And that brings us to a very important point: Make sure everything else in your bag complies. What is TSA looking for? Bombs, primarily! After that, liquid bombs! Don’t tempt fate by attracting security with any sort of liquid in your bags.

Dope. How about vape cartridges?

Because of the restrictions on liquids, if you’re packing vape cartridges make sure you have less than 3 ounces. Again, the TSA looks for liquids, C-4, and crossbows. The TSA does not look for weed. If they are searching your bag, chances are you left something else in there you shouldn’t have. This is when they will discover your weed accidentally, at which point they’ll have no choice but to take it even though it’s not what they went in there looking for. So don’t pack a vape pen that looks like a grenade or something.

Thrillist reached Heath Montgomery, the senior public information officer at Denver International Airport, for his two cents on dimebag traffic. “Generally, the airport has a policy that prohibits the possession, consumption, etc. of any marijuana products on airport property,” Montgomery says. “When a person is found to have marijuana on them (an amount legal under Colorado law) at the TSA checkpoints, a Denver police officer typically explains the airport’s rules and asks the passenger to dispose of the marijuana. To date … every single person who has been contacted about this has voluntarily complied with our request and either taken it home or thrown it away. The TSA only contacts a handful of people -- out of millions -- about marijuana each year. The numbers have been so small that the police no longer track these contacts.

“Basically, people seem to be well informed that it is illegal under federal law to fly with marijuana, and that the airport prohibits the possession of any amount of marijuana, and the vast majority of travelers are simply not bringing it to the airport.” 

Do what you will with that information.

How to fly with pot

And CBD?

CBD’s whole thing is that it contains no (or very little) THC, which is the psychoactive component of marijuana to which the law applies. In 2019, the TSA updated its policy to allow CBD containing less than .3% THC, but we wouldn’t sweat it overthinking that part too much. Unless you’re in a very red state and also profoundly unlucky, CBD is fine. It is very unlikely that TSA is gonna care about your CBD when you can probably purchase an $8 CBD latte on airport premises right after you get through security.

How to fly with weed
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

What do I do after security?

Blaze up! Kidding. You could put the weed in a more comfortable place, but basically, you’re in the clear. Just remember that when you land, chances are you’re touching down in less-friendly territory than where you just were. Be mindful transporting your souvenirs out of the airport to your destination; you have a better chance of being busted by local cops than airport security

Can I drive across state lines with weed?

Maybe you’ve seen Midnight Express one too many times and you think flying with drugs is a bad idea. What are your other options? You could walk or bike, but the riskiest option you have, bar none, is driving. Cops from non-legalized states have been known to target incoming cars with plates from those with headier laws. If you must drive, don’t bring flower; anyone can smell that shit immediately. Pack some gummies or a vape pen in the bottom of a bag and hit the road -- just be sure to stay right at the speed limit.

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