Can You Fly With Medical Marijuana?

Flying MMJ

Federal TSA Regulations Allow Marijuana On Planes

I flew the friendly skies with a 3 foot pot plant, a female in pre-flowering mode, and yes, this really happened…My flight left Missoula on the 28th of July, and I carried my 2 foot long Gandalf and my 1 ounce of marijuana with me, out in open, uncovered, from Missoula, thru Denver, and on to Michigan — Detroit. Going thru security in Missoula was quite easy, the head of the TSA had never seen a medical marijuana card, so she called the local Missoula airport police, and they confirmed that I was a legal patient, and let me board.

In Michigan, a patient gave me a female plant that smelled nice, barely flowering, only a few pistil hairs showing. I decided to try and see what the general perspective of medical marijuana was with the police and TSA, with our federal government and flying with cannabis. At 5:00 AM, going through airport security with the plant, the Gandalf and about a half ounce of marijuana, the TSA asked to see my medical marijuana card…and that was it. I carried the plant high in one hand, uncovered, next to my pipe, uncovered, and while most people didn’t even see the plant, concerned with their travels, about 15% of every person, especially pilots, noticed the plant, taking a triple-take. About 1/6th of them stopped me and asked me if that was really what they thought it was. And of course, I told them it was a medical marijuana plant, to which they were amazed and didn’t know what to say. Many of them were very happy about the lack of prosecution for me and my medicine and were glad that our government is relaxing prohibition.

6:00AM, on the plane, in seat 13B, the plane was scheduled to depart, but the police had been called and wanted to ask me a few questions. So United Express delayed departure for 30 minutes, while the police verified my medical marijuana status, called the police in Chicago O’Hare Int’l, and verified that all was well. It was. Getting back on the plane, yielded cheers and claps, and passengers were relieved, not only to take off, but that the airlines and airport police had allowed an actual live medical marijuana plant onboard.

When we landed in Chicago, there were two police officers waiting for me. They pulled me off to the side, verifying all my information, while I politely spoke to him about it, and waited while he confirmed his information…which appears to be…that when travelling, according to the airport police in Michigan, Seattle, and O’Hare Int’l, as long as a patient does not leave the terminal, they are not in the jurisdiction of the local state’s laws regarding marijuana. And as long as the origination and destination locations are both medical marijuana friendly, it is okay to fly with medical cannabis.

The Chicago police escorted me to the next gate for Missoula, but I missed my flight and had to be rebooked through Seattle…which didn’t take long, and we were on our way. There was not much commotion on the flight to Seattle, except, like on the last flight from Detroit to Chicago, everyone, including the stewards, took pictures of my plant and I on the plane, stating that they had never seen this before.

Upon arriving in Seattle, our flight to Missoula was cancelled, so we had to wait another 5 hours for a plane from Seattle to Missoula. So, in pain, I approached Duty Manager, Debra McGee, and explained my need to use my medicine, but that I was unable to leave the terminal. I told her about my digital Volcano vaporizer and that it’s not fire, flame, combustion, or particulate matter, in other words, it’s not smoking. Unsure, she called Sergeant Addison who explained that Seattle Airport Police have a ‘hands off’ policy with medical marijuana cardholders. She told me that I was approved to use my medical marijuana, via vaporizer, but asked me to not share it with others. I agreed. There were only about 30 people in the large 4-gate waiting area, part of the A series of gates. I plugged in the vaporizer, ground up marijuana, put it in the holder, and vaped 5 bags of cannabis, relieving my pain and experiencing the end of prohibition — I no longer feel fear, because I choose to use the medicine that brings me the relief I need to live and be productive every day.

I was travelling with one of the folks who works here at MCN, and as we went to the gate: C14, for our final flight home, during the wait, I vaporized a few bags of marijuana, while the plane was boarding, open and in public. Many people barely noticed that I was using marijuana, or had a live plant with me, but a few did, and I had a few interesting conversations. Generally, what appears to be happening, is that our countries’ citizens no longer feel the need to point out my medical cannabis use, unlike a card-holder who reproached me for smoking a bowl as soon as I got out of the terminal at the Missoula airport. He said that my using my medicine in public, was going to ruin it for the whole country!

How silly is that!? I just flew 3,500 miles, with pot, a plant on our national airlines, and ingested medical marijuana, in public, and carried marijuana, through an airport, in a state without a medical cannabis act. I think he is wrong. I think I will not ruin it for everyone. I believe what Gandhi said, “Be the change, you wish to see in the world”. And a certain president Roosevelt said that we have nothing to fear, except fear itself. Today, I have jet lag, and am tired, a little out of it, but the feeling of freedom that I have experienced by living what I believe leaves me without words. Yet I will say that I have a new respect for our country’s founding fathers, because the system is working. I was polite and transparent with everyone who was involved, TSA, police, airline personnel, and they all treated me in the same way.

They all understood and I am looking forward to the next time I fly the friendly skies, to a state with a medical marijuana act, because I will bring back more than one 3 foot plant that is in flowering mode. And now that I know I can use my medicine, as long as I let them know, I no longer have fear pain, or airline problems, cancellations and delays.

Here are Tips for Flying with Medical Marijuana, According to the Newsletter Author:

Remember to have your card and your driver’s license with you WITH MATCHING ADDRESS!!! Do NOT check your medicine. When TSA handles your checked baggage, they are technically in possession of it which is illegal if they do not have a card. Try to book connections in other medical states. If the flight it rerouted, there is nothing you can do to control it, but please respect the current laws in other states. When questioned, be cool and remember you are not some juvenile exploiting a privilege, nor a criminal with something to hide; you are a suffering patient and not only is it necessary but it is also YOUR RIGHT for you to possess and use this medicine. Know the laws for the states you are travelling to better than law enforcement. This usually just requires one intensive read-through. Carrying a copy of the laws and any supporting rules is a good idea to show a skeptical agent. Be firm about your rights but do not brag. It’s ok to be a little bit of a pain in the ass about having your medicine with you. Many sick people’s attitudes have been interpreted as nuisances by the less compassionate.