TSA Changes Rules to Allow Hemp-Derived Oil on Planes

(CN) – Travelers can now fly in the U.S. with some forms of CBD oil and an epilepsy drug derived from marijuana after the Transportation Security Administration changed its cannabis policy over Memorial Day weekend.

In this March 26, 2019, file photo, a baggage handler waits for luggage to arrive to sort and deliver to passengers at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

TSA relaxed its long-standing policy that banned all hemp and marijuana products from air travel by quietly updating its “What can I bring?” guidelines to include some forms of cannabidiol, or CBD. The new rules also allow people to fly with marijuana-derived medications that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The only FDA-approved drug that is derived from marijuana, Epidiolex, was legalized in June and is used to treat epilepsy in children.

CBD oil cleared for takeoff by the TSA on Sunday must be derived from hemp and not marijuana, hemp’s close cousin.

“Possession of marijuana and certain cannabis infused products, including some cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law,” TSA says in its medical marijuana guidance. “TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law, including possession of marijuana and certain cannabis infused products.”

Cannabidiol that is naturally extracted from hemp plants does not contain significant psychoactive properties caused by THC, a compound that is found in higher levels in marijuana, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

To abide by these new guidelines, passengers must ensure any CBD product they pack was produced with hemp sourced from USDA-licensed manufacturers and does not have THC levels above 0.3%. Products at or below that level of THC fall within the definition of legal hemp.

TSA says security officers do not actively search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but will refer the matter to law enforcement officers if illegal substances are discovered during airport screenings.

Screening procedures, according to the agency, “are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers.”

A legal opinion published by the Department of Agriculture on Tuesday OK’d hemp transportation across state lines, including through states where the crop’s production is not legally established.

The Agriculture Improvement Act, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump in 2018, removed hemp from schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

The legal opinion forbids states and tribes from banning interstate hemp commerce, but they can still decide whether to locally legalize growing the plant.

The TSA did not immediately respond Wednesday to a request for comment.

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