Air Travelers Caught with Pot in Heightened Security Checks

Travelers who wish to carry marijuana should beware of new airline security measures. Airlines are now searching checked baggage as well as carry-ons. California NORML has heard from travelers who were arrested after stowing their stash inside checked luggage.

One of them was Oakland school board member Dan Siegel, who was apprehended at the gate after baggage checkers discovered pot in a clear plastic bag inside his shaving kit in his suitcase. Siegel, an endorser of Oakland's Measure Z "tax and regulate" initiative, responded honestly to security personnel that he did not have a recommendation for marijuana.

"I use marijuana occasionally for stress associated with work and other activities," Siegel said. "I don't believe that its use should be a crime, or even an infraction, and it's apparent that most people in Oakland agree with that."

Occasionally, Department of Homeland Security personnel have been known to allow Prop. 215 patients to bring medical marijuana aboard for intrastate flights in California. However, some patients have also been arrested after declaring medicine at security. One patient was permitted to carry a couple of ounces of medicine from Sacramento to San Diego, but was cited by the San Diego sheriff for trying to bring it back home.

Pot smokers should also take note that new regulations forbid the transport of cigarette lighters and matches. A tip for savvy travelers: carry edibles instead.

CA NORML 2261 Market St. #278A San Francisco CA 94114