Until now it’s been illegal for travelers to take CBD on flights under fear of potential criminal prosecution. But now, the TSA just made a historic amendment to their policy, allowing CBD from hemp on all domestic and international flights.
It’s fantastic news for people who use CBD for medical purposes. Those people were unable, until now, to travel with their CBD, and this presented a bunch of issues for people flying as well as TSA employees. The TSA also announced the change on the “what can I bring” section of their website, permitting hemp-derived CBD.
The TSA – or the U.S. Transportation and Security Administration who is tasked with making sure airports and planes remain safe for travelers – has made no distinction between cannabis and hemp products until now.
The former gets you high and is illegal, the latter is known as CBD, and as long as it comes from hemp and not cannabis, has no psychoactive effects. It’s all down to the Trump administrations push for the 2018 Farm Bill which saw the federal legalization of hemp and CBD derived from it.
The TSA update on their website states: “Products/medications that contain hemp-derived CBD or are approved by the FDA are legal as long as it is produced within the regulations defined by the law under the Agriculture Improvement Act 2018.”
However, enforcing the new policy is a challenge, mainly due to cannabis and hemp products looking so similar. Unless TSA agents are highly trained in detecting THC inside CBD or hemp products, the new policy is almost impossible to manage effectively.
According to a recent CNN report, the change in policy was down to the FDA’s approval of Epidiolex, a cannabis-derived anti-seizure medication. “TSA was made aware of an FDA-approved drug that contains CBD oil for children who experience seizures from pediatric epilepsy,” they said. “To avoid confusion as to whether families can travel with this drug, TSA immediately updated TSA.gov once we became aware of the issue.” With that said, the FDA approved Epidiolex a year ago, so the TSA hardly acted “immediately.”
The TSA’s official policy when it comes to medical cannabis is unclear. It’s understandable to a degree as different states have different rules and regulations when it comes to cannabis. Then again, the TSA’s job is not to search passengers’ baggage for cannabis. The TSA’s role is one of security, and it’s up to them to keep bombs and other weapons off of flights.
A little bit of cannabis in someones carry on is (or should be) the last of their worries. According to their website, “TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other drugs,” but that, “In the event, a substance that appears to be marijuana is observed during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”
The TSA isn’t the only ones having issues with cannabis legalization in America. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office notified earlier this month that some hemp products could obtain registered trademarks. However, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau also find themselves in a quagmire as hemp derived CBD is not allowed in alcoholic drinks due to a lack of clarity from the FDA.
Many federal authorities stateside are now battling to forge a clear policy when it comes to cannabis and hemp. It’s hoped that before long, that policy will be clarified so patients who use medical cannabis can travel in peace.