Over the last few years, more than 30 states and Washington D.C. have legalized medicinal cannabis and its derivates. This movement is far from over, with many more states taking the steps to legalize the plant for medicinal or recreational purposes in the near future.
But, even in countries like the US where recreational and medicinal cannabis are both available in different areas, traveling with CBD oil and other hemp-derived products is regarded as risky.
While the above is true, there have been many changes to the laws that govern hemp and cannabis in general. The passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the FDA’s approval of the first prescription CBD drug, and a shift in public perception have all had a significant impact.
As a matter of fact, the Transportation Security Administration or TSA has recently changed its regulations on some types of cannabis-infused products, which means that traveling with CBD just got a bit easier.
In this article, we’ll go over the changes that the TSA has implemented and tell you everything you need to know about traveling with CBD oil today.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
The legality of CBD is a confusing topic, to say the least.
For starters, it’s important to understand the difference between marijuana and hemp. Marijuana is the term used to describe cannabis plants that produce THC levels higher than 0.3%. Hemp, on the other hand, are breeds of cannabis that don’t produce enough THC to generate an intoxicating effect. On average, hemp plants have less than 0.3% THC, which is nowhere close to the amount needed to produce a “high”.
CBD, which stands for cannabidiol, is a compound that’s found in both hemp and marijuana. But, marijuana and products that come from this plant are illegal at the federal level, so transporting these is against the law.
However, hemp production and distribution were both legalized through the Farm Bill of 2018. The same bill also removed cannabidiol from the list of Schedule I Narcotics, which makes the natural compound legal at a federal level – as long as it meets certain requirements.
To be legal, CBD must be extracted from plants grown under certain conditions, contain less than 0.03% THC, and meet other requirements set forth in the 2018 bill.
Is Flying with CBD Oil Legal?
While hemp is now legal as of some time ago, the TSA’s stance on hemp-derived products remained the same until a recent update to their “What Can I Bring?” page.
The change in wording, which took place in late May, states that FDA-approved medical cannabis products are allowed in carry-on and checked bags. The same update also affirms that flying with CBD oil products is allowed, but it must come from plants that have less than 0.3% THC concentrations.
With this in mind, the TSA is clear about the fact the final decision to allow an item or product lies with each individual agent, so there is always a chance your goods may be confiscated.
It’s worth noting the change in policy took place after the FDA approved the first CBD-infused drug, which can only be prescribed to children with severe epilepsy. Yet, even if the update technically covers hemp-derived products, flying with CBD oil may still pose some risks depending on the location you’re visiting.
States have their own laws, so you need to keep these in mind before traveling with CBD oil. Since the TSA changed their guidelines, there have been reports of people being detained for transporting CBD oil in certain airports. So, you should always play it safe and verify that cannabidiol is allowed in the state you’re visiting before boarding your flight.
[RELATED ARTICLE: 2018 Farm Bill: Hemp and CBD Prohibition Ends!]
5 Tips to Traveling with CBD Without Issues
Despite the TSA’s change in regulations, you may still run into some trouble when flying with CBD oil. Even if it’s allowed at the federal level, cannabidiol may still be regulated by the local authorities, so you need to be careful whenever you decide to take a trip with your trusty oil bottle.
Here are some tips to help you travel with CBD without running into any problems.
1. Bring the Product’s Certificate of Analysis
All reliable CBD oil providers will have a certificate of analysis or CoA. The CoA is a lab test conducted by a third party and it confirms the chemical composition of your product, including the THC concentration. Traveling with the certificate of analysis is always a good idea because it can help you prove that your product abides by local and federal regulations.
2. Packing and Transport
Like all liquids, CBD oil must be packed according to the TSA’s requirements. Stashing your oil separately or wrapping it in your clothes will only raise suspicion. Instead, make sure the container is placed in a plastic bag along with your other liquids.
Keep in mind as well, any liquids you are flying with in your carry on must be below 3.4oz, so 1oz tinctures will be ok, but if you have any larger bottles leave them behind. Also, CBD vape pens are allowed under the TSA’s “What Can I Bring” policy for vaping devices. However, for vape pens they specifically want you to keep those in your carry on. This is likely to keep the device from being in a low-pressure area for too long.
For any other CBD products, the TSA says you can pack in your carry on or checked bag.
3. Research the State You’re Visiting
Contrary to popular belief, federal law doesn’t automatically trump state legislation. To avoid any potential problems, take the time to research the location you’re visiting. States like Texas and Florida have stringent laws on CBD, so knowing the local rules will help you take the best decision.
4. Carry Prescriptions and Relevant Documentation
Having a prescription or some form of relevant documentation can also save you a lot of hassle when flying with CBD oil. This is especially important for parents of children taking Epidiolex, the CBD drug that received the FDA’s approval. That said, it’s important to always remain calm and patient, regardless of whether your goods were seized or not.
5. Stay Calm and Avoid Arguing with TSA Agents
As we mentioned before, the TSA is clear that each individual agent has the final decision whether you’re allowed to keep your CBD or not. Regardless of the decision, avoid arguing with the security agents as it will likely make matters worse, especially if you get hung up on the technical aspects of the legality of hemp!