When The Cannabist first started publishing in December of 2013, some of the most common questions we addressed were about the legality of flying with marijuana or having pot in your possession while at Denver International Airport — and we’re still getting questions like that.
Is it legal? No. Do people still do it? Yes, as they have for decades.
Pot and the TSA
The issue came up when “Last Comic Standing” champs Josh Blue and Felipe Esparza joined comedian Doug Benson for the latest episode of “Getting Doug with High.” As the three comics addressed the plethora of weed options available on the table in front of them, Blue — who had flown in from his Colorado home — admitted that he had “accidentally” packed some Denver dank.
“I brought some (pot) too, actually, but mine was brought from Denver today accidentally,” Blue said.
Benson added: “You didn’t mean to bring it!”
Blue continued: “I opened my bag and was like, ‘Oh my God.'”
And that’s when Benson laid down the law: “The TSA, for the most part, does not care about marijuana.”
Blue agreed with him: “They do not. Not once have I ever heard about anyone leaving Denver and getting busted for weed.”
Benson retorted: “I haven’t heard of any airport weed bust by an individual with whatever they had on them.”
Later on in the program, Blue tells Benson that tourists should be cautious to not take Colorado’s legal marijuana out of the state if they’re driving back home. “But if you’re flying,” Blue half-joked, “just bring as much as you want. That’s totally fine.”
(Watch the full episode. This conversation starts at 2:20.)
On one hand, Blue and Benson have a point. In 2014, only 29 people were caught trying to board planes at Denver International Airport with cannabis flower or infused products — and in each case, police officers allowed the offenders to throw their marijuana away and then board their flights instead of issuing citations.
On the other hand, the TSA feels more strongly about large amounts of pot. The most recent post on the organization’s most-excellent Instagram page (at the time this piece published) is of a marijuana bust at Oakland International Airport — “17 clear vacuum sealed plastic bags of marijuana were discovered in two carry-on bags this week,” the TSA wrote.
The TSA noted in the photo’s description: “If during the security screening process an officer discovers an item that may violate federal law, TSA refers the matter to law enforcement.”