Most people pack their prescription medications, over-the-counter remedies, and vitamins without a second thought. Xanax, Aspirin, and Melatonin get chucked into the carry-on and zipped away, clearing the all-powerful airport X-ray machine with no trouble at all.
When you become accustomed to taking CBD for your aches, pains, and emotional well-being, you have a tendency to forget that the laws surrounding its use and possession are a bit murky.
Fear not. Your CBD gummies are overall safe, you just need to know your stuff. Traveling with a product that was considered a controlled substance just a couple of years ago may seem unnerving, but this article will help you get perspective, understand the laws, and be prepared for any questions you may get at airport security.
What Does the Law Say?
In 2018, the Farm Bill federally legalized the farming of industrial hemp and manufacturing of its products. The bill removed hemp and its derivatives from the controlled substances list, and cleared the way (sort of) for a major expansion of the CBD market.
The FDA moved monitoring of activity surrounding CBD to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics division, which states that CBD cannot be added to food, or treated as a curative or supplement. This means that on the most technical level, any CBD you ingest is illegal.
The FDA, however, has chosen to focus on pursuing brands that make medical claims to their products, so they are not planning to bust your door down because you take gummies for your arthritis any time soon.
Things get more confusing when we look at travel between states. Though hemp is federally legal nationwide, states are allowed to make their own laws.
Some states have strict regulations, and a couple of states do not allow possession or sale of any CBD product. Most states, though, are completely open to CBD derived from hemp, and some are also THC friendly.
What Does the TSA Say?
The TSA is a federal agency and technically, they have to comply with the mandates of federal laws. Because the FD&C states that no CBD may be made for human or animal ingestion, the TSA has the authority to crack down on CBD gummies and CBD oils.
Instead, they have stated that CBD products are permissible on the plane so long as they are derived from hemp plants, not marijuana plants. The CBD must contain 0.3 percent THC or less, and anyone carrying products that contain more are subject to questioning, confiscation, and prosecution.
The TSA website does clarify that its main purpose is to inspect bags and personal belongings for items that may pose a threat to the safety of its passengers. They are not specifically sniffing out your gummies. If, however, illegal substances are found, they are required to refer you for further evaluation, possibly by the police.
Is Your CBD Legal?
Technically, no. But the TSA has no overall interest in making you miss a flight or delaying your vacation unless you actually put your fellow passengers at risk for some reason. The FDA has stated that its focus on enforcing CBD laws lies with companies making medical claims.
Your vaguely illegal CBD gummies are fine as long as you are in a hemp-friendly state and your products do not exceed the limit on THC.
Think of it like driving five miles an hour over the speed limit. You are breaking the law, but as long as you are not in a speed trap, in a school zone, or driving recklessly fast, no one is actually going to stop you. The key is making sure you stay within the parameters set forth by the TSA.
How Do You Know if Your CBD Meets the Guidelines?
There is a real challenge in understanding what is in your CBD products with confidence. A large percentage of packaging is wrong. In order to verify what is on the label, is also in the package, reputable CBD brands offer a certificate of analysis.
This confirms the advertised potency and purity by a third-party lab so you can be sure of what you are carrying. Print this out and bring it with you in case of any questions at the security checkpoint.
So, You’re Good to Take CBD Gummies on Your Flight, Right?
In an age where your grandparents are taking CBD for arthritis pain, and professional athletes are taking CBD for better performance, it seems like there should be no question that you are good to go.
The trouble is that the way things are written, everything is open to interpretation. Best case scenario—and what happens most of the time—is that you’ll get through security without a hitch. If you get a TSA agent who is poorly trained, doesn’t understand CBD laws, is having a bad day, is in a bad mood, or is intimidated by the color of your skin, you could end up being delayed, getting your CBD confiscated, or missing your flight altogether.
It is unfortunate that as things are written, there is room to harass people over something that should be completely acceptable. The best you can do is prepare in advance. Know the laws in the state you are traveling from, the state you are traveling to, and any state you have a connection or layover in.
Bring a certificate of authenticity to verify that the amount of THC in your oil or gummies does not exceed the legal limit.
If the thought of any potential hold up while you are trying to catch your flight makes you want to cancel your trip, it may be a good idea to research your destination. You can usually find a nearby vendor that sells your favorite brand once you get to where you’re going.
Avoid the hassle and just make a purchase once you’re off the plane. Whatever you decide to do, take a deep breath and go forward with confidence. You’ve got this.