Policy change should ease the minds of travelers who depend on CBD products
The United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) changed its cannabis policy earlier this month to allow airline passengers to bring aboard some forms of hemp-derived CBD (cannabidiol) oil, as well as an FDA-approved marijuana-based drug.
All forms of marijuana — medicinal and recreational — were previously prohibited in both checked and carry-on bags across the U.S. While laws vary by state, federal transportation rules prohibited bringing cannabis products, even on flights between two states where marijuana is legal.
Here’s how the federal agency explained it:
Possession of marijuana and certain cannabis infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law. TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law, including possession of marijuana and certain cannabis infused products.
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.
According to the TSA, the change was prompted by the FDA’s approval of CBD-containing medication called Epidiolex, which is used to treat seizures in some severe, rare forms of pediatric epilepsy.
What Does It Mean for CBD Users?
The updated policy allows travelers to bring CBD products on flights, as long as the products:
- Are derived from hemp and not marijuana (unless it’s an FDA-approved marijuana-derived medication)
- Are compliant with the 2018 Farm Bill, which federally legalized hemp and hemp derivatives, including hemp-derived CBD products
- Contain less than 0.3% THC
While the change is certainly good news for flyers who use CBD, some anticipate confusion at airport checkpoints as TSA screeners and passengers work out which products are Farm Bill-compliant and therefore legally allowed on flights.
It’s also unclear how the presence and concentration of THC will be confirmed. According to the TSA, all issues regarding federally illegal substances, for example, those that contain more than 0.3% THC, will be referred to law enforcement.
The new TSA regulations reflect the government’s growing readiness to rethink its stance on CBD and cannabis. As recently as last month, a 69-year-old grandmother was arrested at Disney World after guards found a vial of CBD oil in her purse, despite the fact that she had a doctor’s note recommending its use for her arthritis. Last year, a 71-year-old woman was arrested at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport after a vial of CBD oil she was using for pain was found in her travel bag. The woman was on her way to visit her granddaughter in Oregon, and both women were even briefly jailed.
The TSA has been emphasizing that its screening procedures are designed to detect potential threats to air travel and passengers, and are focused on security, not the detection of illegal substances, specifically.
A TSA official told CNN that agency officers are being briefed on the rule update, but “since this is a new consideration, there may be some that do not recognize the FDA-approved version.”
Even with this level of uncertainty, advocates maintain that the new regulation will ease the minds of travelers who depend on CBD and will help propel CBD products into the mainstream.
At Crescent Canna, we’re actively following the evolving regulatory landscape surrounding CBD products to keep our customers informed. Stay tuned to the Crescent Canna blog for the latest news and developments.