Can You Really Fly Out Of LAX With Weed?

By Keri Blakinger 10/01/18
A new high-minded policy makes LAX the first major airport to take a pro-pot stance.
Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport

The friendly skies just got a little friendlier if you’re flying out of Los Angeles. 

The City of Angels’ bustling airport recently moved to allow passengers to pack their pot in carry-on luggage, according to an announcement posted on the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) website.

The high-minded move comes on the heels of California's passage of a marijuana legalization measure that went into effect at the start of the year. 

“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,” LAX wrote in the notice

“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.”

But, there’s one big caveat: If pot is illegal at your destination, you can still get arrested when you land. 

And aside from that, marijuana is still banned under federal law, so it may still raise red flags with the TSA—even though it’s not their top priority. 

"TSA's focus is on terrorism and security threats to the aircraft and its passengers," agency spokeswoman Lorie Dankers told Los Angeles-based KABC-TV. "Whether or not the passenger is allowed to travel with marijuana is up to law enforcement's discretion.”

And when the law enforcement in question is Los Angeles police, their new move will be to turn down the arrest. 

LAX appears to be the first big airport to take a pro-pot on planes stance. San Diego International doesn’t have an official policy, according to KABC. And in the Denver airport, marijuana is prohibited—mainly because it’s still illegal under federal law.

Even so, local police aren’t necessarily racking up collars over Colorado’s pot-friendly flyers.

"If it's a small amount the TSA and the Denver Police Department will ask that person to dispose of it,” airport spokesman Emily Williams told the TV station. “If that person is willing to do that, they move through.”

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.