Cannabis users had a brief but intense moment of euphoria this week after the Transportation Security Administration seemed to give a green light to air travelers to pack medical marijuana in checked or carry-on luggage.
But the TSA’s apparent new acceptance of THC – which appeared on its website – went up in smoke almost as fast as news of the supposed change zipped through social media.
The agency said passengers are still not allowed to have marijuana in their luggage and blamed the website’s mix-up on a computer glitch.
Marijuana is now legal for medical or recreational use in 26 states and the District of Columbia, according to Governing magazine. But the drug remains illegal under federal law, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, for one, made clear he wants to keep it that way.
So how do people fly (on an airplane) with marijuana that had been legally purchased in some states? Here to help is Joel Milton. Milton, a techie who grew up in suburban New York and then moved west for the Green Rush, is chief executive of Baker, a Denver-based software company that helps more than 300 marijuana dispensaries in 13 states market their wares.
Q: What do you make of the TSA website’s giving a temporary thumbs-up to medical marijuana?
A: I loved it. I mean, first of all, there’s no way it was just a random, data error. The reality is, the TSA was probably trying to do the right thing – or someone there was, and sort of acknowledging that, “Hey, listen, if you’re a cancer or a glaucoma patient who has medical marijuana, [this is how to pack it].”
Q: What makes you think the TSA meant to change its policy?
A: You know, people tweet at TSA all the time, right? And I’m sure, based on some requests from some very ill people who really rely heavily on cannabis to make it through their day – I’m sure they feel for those people and they probably said “Listen, you have a medical pink card, and you really need it. We’re not going to bust you.”
Now, unfortunately, when you put that on a federal website, and you have someone like Jeff Sessions as the attorney general . . . that’s why it was removed pretty quickly. I’m not surprised it got taken down.