The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 categorized marijuana as a Schedule I drug, making all forms of possession illegal at the federal level. However, in the last ten years alone, the majority of America has gained access to a form of marijuana, whether it be for recreational or medicinal purposes, in accordance with rapidly changing state laws. As of November 2022, twenty-one states, Washington, D.C., and Guam have legalized recreational marijuana, and thirty-seven states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have legalized medical marijuana. With this conflict between federal and state law regarding cannabis possession, air travel while possessing marijuana has become a grey area filled with discrepancies and varying approaches. This Article offers specific recommendations for Congress to employ to best address the current issues airports across the United States are facing upon the discovery of a passenger attempting to fly while possessing a personal use amount of marijuana. This framework includes, at the broad level: (1) the removal of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, in accordance with current proposed legislation; and (2) editing current proposed legislation to include mention of what applicable federal agencies’ roles will be as related to marijuana in response to this. This Article provides narrow recommendations regarding how the Department of Homeland Security should be directed to respond, including: (1) the implementation of specific guidelines regarding what TSA officials should do upon the discovery of marijuana in a passenger’s possession, (2) the implementation of amnesty boxes at airports, (3) the educational efforts that should be employed as a response, and (4) the implementation of an oversight chair or committee.
O’Brien, E. (2023). To Be Blunt: Weed Appreciate You Not Flying with Marijuana, but Current Conflicting Cannabis Law Leaves Things Hazy. Indiana Journal of Law and Social Equality, 11(1), 4.