The Best Way to Travel With Marijuana (And Not Get Caught)

So you want to bring your pot on vacation. Of course you do!

Even if you happen to live in a state that legalized medical or recreational marijuana, there’s a good chance that the place you’re traveling might not be so progressive. Plus, there’s the tricky issue of getting your goodies from point A to point B. The last thing anyone wants is to get smacked with a giant fine — or jail time.

Doctor's hand holding medical marijuana

Doctor’s hand holding medical marijuana | megaflopp/iStock/Getty Images

Traveling with marijuana doesn’t have to be complicated. The best way to avoid getting caught? Be cool, man. Times are changing, and a little marijuana isn’t that big of a deal anymore. Right now, recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and medical marijuana is legal in 29 states. A 2017 Gallup poll shows that 64% of Americans supported the legalization of marijuana.

Editor’s note: Federal law prohibits transporting marijuana by plane or by car. By doing so, you are taking a major risk and breaking the law. You do so at your own risk.

How much weed can you fly with?

The key to traveling with marijuana is simple: don’t be greedy. Packing a little jar of weed isn’t going to set off any alarm bells, but transporting several pounds it almost guaranteed to get you busted. Practice self-control and use your common sense. Typically, one-eighth or less will slide past security just fine.

The best place to hide your weed is in your carry on.

Trying to check your weed in your bag is a terrible idea. You could become the target of a random bag search and the results would be disastrous.

Instead, keep your small stash in your carry-on and hope for the best. Typically, TSA agents are looking for bombs and liquid bombs, which is why the rules for transporting liquids are so strict. They’re not after your weed — they just want to keep everyone safe on the plane.

A woman rolls a marijuana cigarette as photographed

Rolling marijuana into a joint | Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Here’s how to hide weed when you fly:

  • Joints — Put them in a pack of cigarettes with regular tobacco sticks.
  • Bud — Hide it in a bottle of ibuprofen underneath the pills and cotton.
  • Edibles — These are the easiest thing to fly with. Gummies can go in a gummy bear bag. Cookies can go in a Chips Ahoy package. You get the picture!
  • Wax and oil — You can hide these in candy bags also, just be sure any liquids are less than 3 ounces.

The most important thing about getting through security with marijuana is to make sure everything complies with the rule for liquids. It’s not a guaranteed way to get your stuff through, but it’s your best chance for sliding past TSA undetected.

You can sneak your weed through airport security without getting caught

Getting weed through airport security is a lot easier than you even realize. There are stories of people traveling with marijuana who forgot they had it and somehow breezed right past TSA without getting caught — even though they didn’t try to hide it!

Here’s the other thing that should make you feel better about traveling with marijuana: even if you do get caught, no one is calling the DEA and putting you in jail (probably). TSA is on the lookout for bombs and weapons, not a little dimebag of bud.

What happens when you get caught with weed on a plane?

If you get caught, the worst that will happen is security will make you toss your marijuana in the trash with your unauthorized yogurt and then proceed through the line.

There is a chance that you could be referred to law enforcement and may even miss your flight, though. It’s best to proceed with caution and assume that this might happen. Of course, traveling to and from states with more lenient marijuana laws makes a big difference. The TSA agents in Denver are a lot less likely to care about your weed compared to other places.

Airport Security bag search by TSA agent

A TSA agent searches a bag. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Can airport scanners see your weed?

The thing about airport scanners is that they’re checking for very specific contraband — weapons, bomb materials, and excessive liquids which may be liquid bombs. They are not hunting for drugs.

There is no way for the scanners to detect and identify each individual item in your bag. If you take the proper precautions to camouflage your stash, chances are it will sail right through the security scanners as long as it complies with TSA guidelines.

It’s a real risk to drive with weed.

The weirdest thing about traveling with marijuana is that it’s easier to transport it via plane than it is to drive around with it. Part of the problem is that police officers often target out-of-state plates — especially from states with legalized marijuana.

If you do choose to bring your weed in the car on your road trip, stick with gummies or vape pens so the smell doesn’t give you away. But if at all possible, skip driving with your stuff and just buy it when you reach your destination instead.

Read more: 15 Unexpected and Practical Ways You Can Use Marijuana

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