Many travelers mistakenly assume that federal law trumps state law. While this is a very complicated topic and different scenarios result in different outcomes, the bottom line is this: It doesn’t. In the case of CBD, states are permitted to implement more stringent regulations than those referenced in the 2018 Farm Bill.
“If the tested substance contains detectable amounts of THC, field testing will show a positive result for marijuana, which would likely lead to arrest,” Spencer told TPG in an email. “After the positive presumptive field test for marijuana, the substance may be sent to a laboratory for testing.”
In order to play it safe and avoid any legal charges — or at the very least, a delay while waiting for TSA to search your bag and consult the rule book — it may be worth leaving your CBD products at home.
Due to the discrepancies between federal and state laws (not to mention the speed with which they’re changing), it’s probably just not worth traveling with any CBD products at this time. If you do so, be sure to familiarize yourself with laws of the states you’re traveling to and from. It may also be helpful to contact the product’s producer to request a copy of the certificate of analysis — which shows the cannabinoid potency profile — for the products you intend to travel with.
But the origins of a specific product and its THC levels can be difficult to trace, and many states are reluctant to legalize CBD. In Texas, for example, CBD with a THC level greater than 0.0% remains illegal unless a recommendation has been made by a qualifying doctor to treat epilepsy. In this case, a patient could be prescribed a product containing no more than 0.5% THC.
But in order to understand the legality of your CBD products and whether you can travel with them, the first question must ask is, where did they come from?
If you’re traveling with an FDA-approved drug containing CBD such as the pediatric anti-seizure medication Epidiolex, be sure to carry your prescription and any relevant documentation.
You can tell the difference between the two types of CBD oil by reading the product’s label and identifying the amount of THC in it. Only hemp-derived CBD oils (with THC levels below 0.3 percent) are legal to fly with or be taken across state borders in the U.S. It’s also important to note that while CBD oil is legal at the federal level, certain state laws vary in terms of possession of any type of CBD oil.
“Consumers can consider traveling with CBD products to be the same as traveling with any other over-the-counter supplements,” says Joshua Bauchner, Canafarma Corp. Legal Counsel. “TSA guidelines as of January 2020 specifically state that consumers can travel with CBD products as long as they contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis, or that are approved by the FDA.”
Traveling with CBD Oil Outside of the U.S.
You can get CBD oil in your coffee, buy CBD oil bath bombs, CBD oil lotions, and even CBD oil dog treats. It’s a buzz-worthy topic in the health and wellness space, but many travelers are left confused about its legality, especially when they’re considering taking certain products on a plane or traveling internationally.
Here’s the status of flying with CBD oil in the U.S. as of January 2020, according to the TSA’s website:
The only type of CBD oil product that Tutkus doesn’t recommend traveling with in the U.S. is hemp flower, because of its similarities to the cannabis flower. Lab results are the only way to tell the difference between the two plants.
Another option is to shop online or at a store before the trip, then ship the CBD to your destination, Avetisyan says.
Earlier this year, officials arrested a 71-year-old woman at the Dallas/Fort-Worth International Airport in May after finding CBD oil in a carry-on. She spent two nights in jail.
Here’s what experts suggest:
“The laws in the jurisdiction you are flying to can be drastically different. Flying domestically with a CBD product is obviously less of a risk, but I still think there are risks.” Not everyone is up to date on the new TSA stance, he says. Hemp is not a controlled substance federally, he says, but people transporting it across state lines get pulled over. Law enforcement officials are not all familiar with the differences between hemp-derived CBD and cannabis-derived CBD.
Marijuana Policy Project.
And no, there won’t be a TSA dog sniffing your luggage or purse. “TSA K9s only search for explosives and explosive components,” Harmon says.
The TSA’s updated regulations allow passengers to legally bring these products on board: