Traveling With Cannabis Products: Is it Legal?

A VW Bus rolling down a desert highway.

As more and more people explore the benefits of CBD and other cannabis products, such as hemp oil, more people will be traveling with cannabis products. Understanding the myriad of laws you face and how to navigate their sometimes uncertain waters is a vital part of making sure your business trip or vacation isn’t derailed. While no online article could cover every possible situation, here’s a brief rundown of the best way to make sure you and your CBD arrive and return safely.

Focusing On CBD

While both marijuana and industrial hemp are variants of the cannabis plant, this blog is only looking at traveling with cannabis derived from industrial hemp. This includes CBD oil, lotions, creams, and other products which contain material ONLY harvested from industrial hemp, such as products produced by Core CBD. The difference between these two variants and how they are legally approached depends largely on the THC content of the plants, which is why choosing a reputable manufacturer is so important.

Aren’t CBD And Industrial Hemp Legal?

Yes. The 2018 Farm Bill declassified industrial hemp as a controlled substance, finally acknowledging it’s differences from its psychoactive sister variant, marijuana. In doing so, it also set certain standards as a guideline to help identify when a cannabis plant was industrial hemp (0.3% or lower THC content), how it should be regulated, and aspects relating to interstate commerce of this increasingly popular plant. While none of these addressed traveling with cannabis for personal, non-commercial reasons directly, it did have an aspect on the re-emergence of industrial hemp, including CBD products, as legal substances.

While this technically made industrial hemp and CBD derived from it legal, state laws do not always perfectly match federal regulations, particularly when regulatory structures do not always keep up with new laws. As an example, a shipment of raw industrial hemp passing through Idaho was recently seized partially because, though the THC level was within the 0.3% guideline, state law classifies cannabis with any THC level as being marijuana and therefore illegal. While this is not the same as traveling with cannabis, it does show the impact varying laws can have.

It is always your responsibility to know the laws relating to anything in your possession when traveling. Whether you’re crossing state lines or heading out for an international holiday, research cannabis regulations well before you travel. That being said, there are actions you can take to minimize any risks while traveling with cannabis.

Legality Vs. Interpretation

If you are questioned about your CBD products by a police officer or similar authority, be open, honest, and forthcoming. While you may not be doing anything illegal, a confrontation can still cause problems. A misinterpretation of the law can still happen, even with trained law enforcement officers, especially considering how laws relating to cannabis consumption are changing to varying degrees at different rates across the country.

Don’t argue, resist, or refuse to surrender the cannabis you’re traveling with. Everything can be sorted out at a later date, by lawyers if necessary, while you get your trip back on track.

Essentials lay scattered around an open suitcase

But I’m Not Doing Anything Wrong

No, you most certainly are not. But even once you’re vindicated, there is no way to get back the time or money you wasted proving your innocence. Here’s how to make sure your trip stays on track:

  • Don’t draw attention to yourself. Obey all laws, speed limits, and posted signs. If you don’t ever encounter an authority figure, no authority figure will question the cannabis you’re traveling with. Don’t wear clothes promoting marijuana usage while using CBD in states where marijuana is illegal. If you are questioned, officers will be suspicious if something you are wearing, doing, or saying causes them to suspect your CBD is actually a THC product.
  • Only buy industrial hemp-derived CBD products from companies you can trust. The best way to make sure you’re in compliance is to buy quality products made from industrial hemp with no THC. If the company offers independent lab-verified results, print out a copy of the analysis and carry it with you. If you’re traveling with cannabis, this gives you proof that it’s industrial hemp rather than a marijuana product.
  • Leave your products in their original container when possible. Clearly marked labels help authorities know that you are using a legal commercial product. If you’re flying, secure larger containers in compliance with TSA guidelines or consider shipping it to yourself at your destination care of a relative or hotel.
  • Only travel with what you need. Larger quantities when traveling with cannabis may look suspicious or make it appear you’re engaging in commerce. Take the amount you expect to need, with a sensible “safety net” just in case. This also lessens the financial impact should it be confiscated or lost.
  • Transport your cannabis properly. Tightly sealed bottles and jars packed in a suitcase are less likely to be seen than an open tincture bottle in the driver’s cup holder. If you need to keep CBD handy when traveling with cannabis, choose a place you can reach safely when needed without leaving it out in the open.
  • Use your cannabis products with discretion. This is something you should always do anyway. Only vape where it is allowed. Make sure you aren’t leaving any CBD products where they can be accessed by minors or pets. Be a good cannabis citizen.
  • If you are questioned, don’t argue, but state the facts. Specify that you are traveling with industrial hemp-derived CBD, not cannabis. Point out that your products contain no THC. Never refer to it as marijuana, reefer, kush, or any other “stoner” slang.

The Bottom Line: Be Smart

Traveling with cannabis can be safe and easy, and with wider acceptance, will become even more so. The best way to make sure your products are safe is to buy proven products from a reputable manufacturer who can document that they are giving you industrial hemp-derived CBD. Choose Core CBD for your products and enjoy your travels in peace.

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