Memorial Day weekend 2019 marks another historic turning point for hemp. This weekend the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) updated its "What Can I Bring?" travel policy on medical marijuana.
The previous and clear "No" specifically called out CBD oil as a no-go for travelers. This guideline has finally been replaced with "Yes (Special Instructions)" bringing this federal agency's policies in line with federal law.
Until last December, hemp-derived CBD oil operated in a legal grey area. States like Colorado and Kentucky OKed the growing of low-THC industrial hemp under pilot programs. During this time federal law still considered all cannabis - regardless of THC content - illegal. Despite the conflicting state and federal laws, public acceptance and nationwide sales of CBD oil boomed.
Last December, the 2018 Farm Bill finally created a separate definition between the two main types of cannabis - hemp and marijuana. This bill federally legalized low-THC hemp and hemp-derived products like CBD oil.
Despite all this progress, travelers have been left in the dark when it came to answering the question: "Can I travel with my CBD oil?" There is finally a clear answer to this question: Yes!
Until now, the TSA travel guidelines lagged behind federal law. They made no distinction between marijuana and hemp and did not recognize the changes established in the 2018 Farm Bill. Now, over 6 months since the new law passed, the TSA guidelines have finally been updated.
The recent update brings the TSA travel guidelines into harmony with federal law. The policy now states in plain text that CBD oil derived from legal hemp or products approved by the FDA can be present in your checked and carry-on baggage when traveling within the USA.
Here is the new policy in full:
Here is the previously published policy before the update:
It appears that this change was spurred by either an incident or report to the TSA regarding Epidiolex, the FDA-approved anti-seizure medication.
Marijuana Moment published their contact with a TSA spokesperson who stated:
“TSA was made aware of an FDA-approved drug that contains CBD oil for children who experience seizures from pediatric epilepsy,” the spokesperson wrote. “To avoid confusion as to whether families can travel with this drug, TSA immediately updated TSA.gov once we became aware of the issue.”
This update calls the TSA's timeliness into question. Epidiolex was approved June 25th, 2018 and the 2018 Farm Bill was approved in December of 2018. This puts the TSA a year behind the curve.
It's important to note that the changes only allow hemp-derived CBD or FDA approved medications. CBD-rich oils that are marijuana-derived, like those you'd find at your local medical dispensary, are not legal.
Furthermore, the document states: "TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law, including possession of marijuana and certain cannabis infused products". We read this to mean that it is in your best interest to ensure that any CBD product you travel with is derived from hemp grown under the 2018 Farm Bill. There could be issues with products which cannot be clearly distinguished as hemp derived. Some likely candidates include hemp flower, unlabeled products, and products which have a marijuana-like appearance.
It is not clear what enforcement and testing processes will be employed by the TSA. As a traveler, it is in your best interest to do some preparation ahead of time and simply ensure that the products you carry on meet the TSA guidelines and that you can prove it.
We are proud to say that here at Big Sky Botanicals, we produce a line of products that are sourced from legally grown Colorado hemp. Our products comply with these new travel regulations and can be carried in your baggage when passing through TSA airport security!
We provide all of our hemp sourcing information on our compliance page. This includes a certificate of free sale which includes industrial hemp farming registration numbers which are used to confirm compliance and legal sourcing.