You Can Fly With Cannabis, Sort of

flying travel with cannabis

“Can I fly on a plane with my cannabis that I legally purchased?” This is a question we hear on a pretty regular basis. The answer, unfortunately, is a complicated one. But, let’s try to break it down anyway.

First, let’s assume that since you’re purchasing your cannabis at Mary Jane’s House of Grass, our Vancouver Washington dispensary, that you’ll probably be flying out of Portland International Airport, just across the river.

Then, let’s next imagine that you’re just taking a short hop over to Eugene and will be landing at Eugene Airport, also known as Mahlon Sweet Field, without leaving the state. Then, based on state regulations, you would legally be allowed to carry up to an ounce of cannabis on your commercial flight. Airport officials changed its policy after the statewide recreational cannabis law went into effect.

With that said, you better be flying within the state.

If you are flying to literally anywhere else and have to cross state lines, then you might just be in trouble.

That’s because, if the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Portland International Airport finds that you are carrying cannabis, their first action is to report you to the Port Police.

What, I thought you said I could fly with cannabis?

Yes, you can fly with cannabis within the state of Oregon and if you are 21 years old and if you have one ounce or less. According to an article in Travel + Leisure, “[TSA agents] ‘do not search for marijuana and other drugs’ but will refer any that are found to local law enforcement.

So, if you carry your ounce of weed through the security checkpoint in your carry-on bag and a TSA agent finds it, you have to deal with Port Police.

What happens next?

First, you’ll probably have to wait a long time and you might even miss your flight. They’re not interested in your travel plans. They’re just doing their job and usually that takes awhile.

But seriously, Port Police will then check to see how old you are (confirming you are above 21 years of age), check to see if you are carrying within the legal limit (one ounce), and check your final destination, which must be within state. If those boxes are checked off, then you are free to go . . . find the next flight available because you just missed yours.

 

What if I’m carrying an ounce or less, but try to take it on an out-of-state flight?

Well, you’re in luck, kind of. Since cannabis is legal in the state of Oregon, the Port Police will most likely just make you ditch your stash before your flight rather than prosecute you.

As Steve Johnson, media relations manager for the Port of Portland, told Travel + Leisure, “most commonly the traveler will be asked to leave the secured area . . . and safely secure the recreational marijuana before traveling.”

You just got so lucky! Traveling with cannabis across state lines is a federal crime.

What  if I’m traveling through another airport in a state where cannabis is legal?

Well, it varies. The laws in Washington are very similar to Oregon, so if you’re flying out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport you’re cannabis will only be confiscated if you’ve committed a violation of the law. So, like Oregon, the charge is based on fact rather than a premeditated act.

However, the rules change if you’re in Colorado. You can’t even bring cannabis anywhere on the Denver International property. It is banned. And, in Colorado Springs, amnesty boxes have been set up so anyone who “accidentally” brought cannabis with them to the airport can safely deposit it before boarding a flight.

But, what if I’m flying from Oregon to another state where cannabis is recreationally legal?

Unfortunately, it’s still technically a no-no and the reason is multifaceted.

For one, transporting cannabis across state lines is illegal as it’s considered interstate transport by the federal government. This could involve jail time, according to an article in Weed News.

However, you might ask, “What’s the deal? If I’m traveling from one legal cannabis state to another; this should not be an issue.” Nope, it shouldn’t, but it is. Again, the reasons are multifaceted, but let’s start with the fact that states who have legalized recreational cannabis added a byline that prohibited purchasers from leaving the state where the cannabis was legally obtained.

More importantly, the air where planes travel is mostly made up of federal air space. And, if you don’t recall, cannabis, while legal at the state level, is illegal at the federal level. So, even if you legally fly with cannabis from Portland to Eugene, if you fly into federal air space, you are breaking the law.

So you’re telling me it’s a bad idea?

Not so fast, buddy. It’s definitely not worth the hassle if you get caught, but not that many people even get caught – or maybe not that many people are taking the risk? Nope, I think not that many people are getting caught.

According to data from Denver International Airport, 55 million people traveled through this hub in 2015 and not a single person received a ticket related to cannabis possession. And, more astoundingly, only 30 people were stopped by TSA and were asked to toss their cannabis; they did.

And honestly, I’d be more concerned about the people trying to bring loaded guns in carry-on bags. Not the friends wanting to get high on vacation.

In the same 2015 timespan, TSA saw over 708 million passengers in the U.S. and scanned 1.6 billion carry-on bags at which time they discover 2,653 guns, 83% of which were loaded. That was a 20% increase from 2014.

Ultimately, TSA is concerned with actual security threats, not your one-ounce cannabis. So, do what you will, but know that if you’re within the legal carry limits, you’re more likely to miss your flight than end up with a ticket, or worse, in jail. So, stop by our Vancouver Washington dispensary and just try to smoke all the cannabis before your next flight.

Cannabis and Alcohol: How They Mix

effects smoking cannabis drinking alcohol

Imagine, you’ve just returned home on a Friday evening after a long week of work. All you want to do is just chill out and clear your head of the stresses you encountered. Sometimes you grab for a nice cold beer, but today you opt to smoke some cannabis that you picked up at a nearby dispensary in Vancouver.

You take a long, deep inhale and near immediately feel a wave of calm come over you. You slink a little deeper into the couch and turn on your favorite go-to show on Netflix. It’s early so you opted for a hybrid strain because, hey, maybe someone will call with plans. In the meantime, it’s just you laughing to the lines you’ve laughed at a million times before and emptying your head of those flood of work worries you couldn’t let go just moments before.

Twenty minutes pass when your friends start texting you. They’re meeting up at the local bar and you want you to join, especially because it’s within walking distance. It’s early so you decide to take them up on their offer.

You arrive at the bar, still high, and down a few craft brews. A few hours later you’re feeling pretty good and decide to take a leisurely walk home. You arrive a few minutes later, flop back down on the couch and take another drag of your bong, as there was still a little cannabis left over.

This is a scene that plays out all over the country on any given night. Both cannabis and alcohol were legally and safely consumed and the desired effect was achieved.

But, what was the actual effect on the body? Did smoking cannabis and drinking alcohol, often referred to as “cross fading” when consumed together, have a different effect than just one or the other?

Let’s explore this more.

In the example provided, the person safely consumed cannabis and alcohol. This is usually the case. But, after researchers found that they are the two most common drug combinations detected in car accidents, they decided to dig into the impact on the body.

This research, first featured in Clinical Chemistry, the journal of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, officially confirmed that when a person simultaneously consumes alcohol and cannabis their blood contains a higher concentration of cannabis’ main psychoactive property, tetrahydrocannabinol, better known to you as THC.

Their research confirms that if you are smoking cannabis with THC, you will feel more “high” if you are also drinking alcohol, maximizing the effect of the cannabis comparatively to consuming cannabis alone.

So, how did they figure this out?

Scientists asked 32 adult cannabis smokers to drink either placebo or low-dose alcohol 10 minutes before inhaling 500 mg placebo, low-dose THC, or high-dose TCV vaporized cannabis. Their blood and plasma were then collected and measured.

Of the 19 participants who completed the study, each had “significantly” higher blood THC values with alcohol use.

What else do we know?

We know that each person reacts differently, regardless of what the studies show thus far, as confirmed by Scott Lukas, a psychiatry and pharmacology professor at Harvard Medical School who’s performed multiple cross fading experiments.

“Not everyone responds to alcohol and marijuana the same,” Lukas told Vice News, but added that THC levels now commonly found in cannabis exceed the amount used in his studies.

What are other possible side effects?

When you use alcohol and marijuana at the same time the likelihood of you greening out goes up considerable. This refers to someone feeling ill after smoking marijuana.

When a person is greening out they might feel sweaty and nauseated while looking pale and complaining of feeling dizzy with the spins. He or she may even vomit. This often follows the desire to lie down for a nap.

Greening out is not a common side effect of cannabis, but drinking alcohol beforehand does increase the chances. However, when someone smokes before drinking, this effect is unlikely to occur.

Just like the phrase, liquor before beer, you’re in the clear; it turns out the same holds true for cannabis.

While greening out isn’t life threatening, alcohol poisoning, on the other hand, is.

It is known that cannabis has an antiemetic effect, meaning it makes it more difficult for the body to vomit and stunts nausea. While this is an excellent effect for those who are prescribed harsh cancer medications, it is not a side effect you want to experience if you accidentally overdo it on the alcohol while smoking. In this case, the side effect could be dangerous as vomiting is the body’s way of emitting harmful substances from the body – expelling excess alcohol.

With that said, even Lukas agrees the risks are low.

“If you’re sitting alone in your bedroom,” he said, “and you’ve got pillows all around you, and you’re well hydrated, and the bed’s not too far off the ground, the risk is low.”

What We Don’t Know

Unfortunately, while a lot is know about the effects of alcohol on the body, as well as the effects of cannabis on the body, not much is known about the combined effect they can have on your system.

According to a study from Northeastern University, some partakers interviewed had the time of their lives. Others, on the flip side, felt immensely ill, vomited, and then passed out.

Ultimately, when these two substances are used together the likelihood of something going wrong increases. So, if you decide to experiment, do so vigilantly and around people you trust in a safe environment.

And, when you’re ready to snag some more cannabis for your next high, come visit our dispensary in Vancouver, Mary Jane’s House of Grass. We’ve got the hookup for all your cannabis needs.