The Quick and Dirty Guide to Traveling with CBDjapaorganics
With the advent of the groundbreaking 2018 Farm Bill, millions of Americans – with very few exceptions – have been able to enjoy the therapeutic benefits associated with hemp and hemp-derived cannabidiol, or more popularly known as CBD. Once relegated to a niche practice, medical cannabis has thus thankfully come to the forefront.
While personal consumption of CBD has been approved at the federal level thanks to the Farm Bill, several ambiguous factors remain. Primarily, these cloudy issues pertain to traveling with CBD. Though the Farm Bill achieved unprecedented political consensus, individual state governments reserve the right to impose their own guidelines that may be stricter than federal benchmarks.
In other words, traveling from a permissive liberal state to one that holds tightly to conservative values may cause problems. Even if you absolutely know that the law is on your side – and take with you supporting documentation – you may encounter officers from various agencies that may not understand the convoluted nuances that surround CBD.
The case of Hester Burkhalter should remind us all about the discrepancies between the law and actual practices. A grandmother from North Carolina, Burkhalter was visiting Orlando’s Disney World resort when she was arrested for carrying CBD oil. After spending 12 hours in jail, she was let out on bond, with prosecutors dropping all charges.
Though rationality eventually won out, Burkhalter’s case should serve as a hard and fast rule: if you don’t need to travel with CBD, don’t do it. But if you must, here are some helpful tips:
International Travel Is a No-Go!
We’ll start with the easy one first. If you’re traveling internationally – and especially if you’re traveling by air – leave your cannabidiol and any hemp-based products at home. Simply put, the risks are not worth it.
For instance, our northern neighbor Canada is highly regarded within the international community for its openness and affability. But when it comes to hemp and CBD, the Canadians don’t mess around. Even though recreational marijuana is legal in Canada, crossing international borders with any cannabis platform is strictly forbidden.
According to the Government of Canada’s website, it is illegal to transport cannabis across the Canadian border:
- no matter how much cannabis you have with you
- even if you are authorized to use cannabis for medical purposes in any form, including CBD
- even if you are travelling to or from an area where cannabis has been legalized or decriminalized
In researching this topic, we came across unsubstantiated blog posts stating that traveling with CBD into Mexico is permissible. Even if true, the legal environment in Mexico and other Central American/Latin American countries is fluid, to say the least.
Therefore, DO NOT LISTEN to any unsubstantiated or unverified claims. International travel with CBD is almost always a no-go.
On the Road with CBD
Within the U.S., you are technically allowed to travel by your personal vehicle to other states with CBD in your possession. Based on the language of the 2018 Farm Bill, states cannot prevent interstate transportation of hemp and cannabidiol products if they meet sourcing protocol established by federal or state guidelines.
As you might guess, many ambiguities lie within the law’s wording. Some state governments have argued that cannabis platforms do not fall under their respective guidelines. As previously mentioned, individual states have the right to impose stricter standards than their federal counterparts. Thus, some states stymie interstate travel with CBD, and that translates into big trouble for you.
Presently, botanical enthusiasts who are also road warriors should avoid carrying any cannabis product to these four states:
- Idaho: The state government has very strict rules about CBD, which cannot contain any amount of THC. This rules out full spectrum CBD, but traveling with any cannabis is a major risk considering their zero-tolerance policies.
- Nebraska: Another state with extremely strict laws about hemp and CBD, it’s only legal for vetted medical professionals with state clearances to possess cannabidiol. Anyone else risks the penalty of possession of an illegal controlled substance. In other words, don’t travel to Nebraska with CBD.
- Kansas: Reminding us about the confusion associated with cannabis laws is Kansas. Though apparently legal – some retailers carry CBD with trace amounts of THC – the current law dictates that only broad spectrum or CBD isolate is legal; that is, CBD without THC. Still, the vagaries of Kansas’ legal ecosystem suggest caution is in order.
- South Dakota: Very simply, South Dakota is a conservative stronghold, and they’re one of the most difficult states in terms of CBD flexibility. Laws have changed recently, but it’s a cluster of ambiguity. Avoid putting yourself into potential (and likely) trouble.
Flying with CBD
Finally, we’ve arrived at the trickiest mode of transportation as it pertains to CBD: air travel. Under the best of circumstances, flying can be a stressful experience. However, this sentiment is magnified a hundred-fold when it comes to flying with CBD.
But with changing laws and public attitudes shifting in favor of cannabidiol, can you travel with CBD in the air? The short answer is no. And the long answer is still no.
Let’s back up for a second. It’s true that under specific circumstances, you can now fly with CBD in your carry-on bags and checked luggage. But what exactly are those circumstances? According to the Transportation Security Administration:
“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.”
So far, the only clear exemption has been given to Epidiolex, a drug used for treating epilepsy in children. The Food and Drug Administration approved it in June 2018, but generally speaking, approval from this agency for cannabis-based medicines have been rare.
Therefore, in all likelihood, your retail CBD won’t pass the sniff test. And while the TSA doesn’t really check for controlled substances, if an agent finds “non-compliant” CBD on your person or luggage, you could be referred to law enforcement.
As the Hester Burkhalter case demonstrated above, law enforcement officers don’t always have the strongest handle on CBD-related laws. Ultimately, the commonly referenced adage applies: better safe than sorry.
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