Over Memorial Day weekend, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) made an important update to its website. Hemp-derived CBD products may now be carried on airplanes, but only under certain circumstances.
The important update has been needed after the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and its derivatives federally. The lag in update has likely confused users of both medical marijuana and CBD oil.
CBD oil is a non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid found in cannabis plants (or Cannabis sativa). It has been shown to aid users in treating anxiety, arthritis, pain, depression, and more and is being used with increasingly frequency to relieve pain associated with cancer and cancer treatment and in an attempt to treat the cancer itself.
Prior to the update, the TSA did not distinguish between marijuana and hemp-derived cannabis products, stipulating that cannabis products were not allowed in carry-on luggage or in checked baggage.
The addition to the TSA’s 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.”
It is unclear how the TSA will distinguish between FDA approved CBD products and those that are not.
While the website states that “some” CBD oil remains illegal and that TSA officers are required to report suspected violations, it adds that TSA officers do not search for these substances but may come across them during security screenings.
According to Marijuana Moment, a TSA spokesperson contends “that the policy change was spurred by FDA’s approval of a cannabis-derived anti-seizure medication, Epidiolex.”
NBC reports that Epidiolex is the only FDA approved CBD product.
In an email, the spokesperson wrote:
“TSA was made aware of an FDA-approved drug that contains CBD oil for children who experience seizures from pediatric epilepsy. To avoid confusion as to whether families can travel with this drug, TSA immediately updated TSA.gov once we became aware of the issue.”
Despite the new rules, travelers may still run into problems. As evidenced by recent news of grandmothers arrested and jailed for possession of CBD oil despite it being legal federally, there is often a disconnect between the actual rules and those enforcing them. If you are planning to travel by plane with CBD oil in the near future, it may be a good idea to be prepared with the TSA’s own documentation. In fact, a TSA official told CNN that, while officers are being briefed on the update,, “there may be some that do not recognize the FDA-approved version.”
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