Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) security officers are not searching airline passengers’ luggage for marijuana, the Daily News reports.
The TSA website notes, “TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other drugs. In the event a substance that appears to be marijuana is observed during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.”
According to the newspaper, passengers in some states where medical marijuana is legal have reported presenting their paperwork to TSA agents, who have permitted them to continue onto the plane with their marijuana.
The TSA, a federal agency, must enforce federal law, the article notes. Medical marijuana has been legalized in 20 states, and recreational use of marijuana has been legalized in two states, but the drug remains illegal under federal law. According to the agency, whether or not marijuana is considered “medical marijuana” under local law is not relevant to TSA screening, because the agency is governed by federal law.
The agency adds that “the final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.”
In late September, TSA agents found 100 pounds of marijuana, valued at $300,000, in a passenger’s checked luggage at Los Angeles International Airport. The marijuana was turned over to Drug Enforcement Administration agents and the Los Angeles Police Department.