Traveling through airport security with hemp based CBD products is no longer an issue according to the Transportation Security Administration. Over the weekend there were some noticeable changes made to the TSA policy regarding medical marijuana. Under “What Can I Bring?” now medical marijuana is allowed under certain circumstances.
The special conditions only require that the CBD products are derived from hemp not marijuana. This change in policy is quite unprecedented as there has never been any distinction between hemp-based CBD products and marijuana products in from the TSA. The real reason behind the change of thinking is the Farm Bill passed in 2018 that legalized hemp and its derivatives.
The TSA updated their website to reflect that “certain” marijuana products are illegal under federal law and if found suspects will be reported to local law enforcement. The new stanza clarifies their policy saying, “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.”
Another fact that really initiated TSA’s policy change was the approval of Epidiolex by the Food and Drug Administration. A TSA spokesperson explained that, “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.”
The real question now is how with policy be enforced. It would require additional training for TSA officers on how to test for THC levels in CBD products or establish a detailed list of all the products that are approved by the FDA. In either case, this would only be done if a suspected illegal substance is found during a screening.
It is worth noting that TSA are not actively looking for illegal drugs. The TSA website specifically calls this out saying as an agency they are, “focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers,” and they do not use resources to seek out illicit drugs. This real beneficiaries of this policy change are medical marijuana patients who use CBD oils for anxiety, chronic pain, and other medical conditions.
It is worth noting that now a federal agency has recognized the FDA findings that hemp-based CBD products does have medical benefits and should not be considered an illicit drug. Now that hemp is legal, the FDA and the USDA are working on developing broader regulatory guidelines for hemp and its derivatives, with the FDA set to hold a public hearing on the issue this Friday.