Photo by Justin Cannabis.
Who hasn’t had a minor airport meltdown at the prospect of having forgotten to remove that bag of weed or those joints stashed at the bottom of the makeup bag?
What about legal growers or dispensary owners who need to get large bags of the ganja from one place to another?
One such professional, owner of Weed Dudes, in Sitka, Alaska, said she nearly plotz.
“I was so scared, and I learned that I needed to find a new antiperspirant, because mine failed miserably,” Michelle Cleaver told adn.com about her first time boarding a plane with five pounds of marijuana in her carry-on at the Anchorage International Airport.
That was back in December, when she was taking commercially grown cannabis from Anchorage to her shop, which opened in January of this year, making it the first and only pot shop to serve Sitka’s population of 8,881 souls.
Since then, Cleaver’s nerves have leveled out. She’s flown with marijuana, thousands of joints and many pounds of edibles on numerous times.
How does she do it? With the blessing of the airport police.
After all, some communities in Alaska are only accessible by sea or air. Sitka is one of them.
Anchorage airport police have been allowing small amounts of weed through security for years, but only in a carry-on.
Passengers carrying the legal state limit of marijuana (one ounce or less) can keep it after being interviewed by police, said Jesse Davis, chief of the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Police and Fire.
Last November, police at the Fairbanks International Airport adopted the same policy.
Those two airports allow weed businesses to carry much larger quantities of cannabis, so long as the passenger is following state law.
Cleaver told adn.com that she has developed a system.
She lets police know beforehand when she’ll be at the airport, then alerts the TSA when she gets to the security checkpoint.
Although the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is a federal agency, whose focus is supposedly on security threats, its agents don’t search for weed.
TSA spokesperson, Lorie Dankers, quoted on adn.com, said if TSA agents see marijuana, they call law enforcement.
While it may be so far, so good, things certainly change fast in the world of legal weed.
Juneau Police Department Lt. David Campbell called it a “fluid situation.” That’s for sure.
Still illegal under federal law, weed is not supposed to cross state lines, federally regulated airspace or waterways. Once you enter into those areas, state laws and police can’t help.
“As long as they have all of their proper Marijuana Control Board documentation … they can continue to travel at their own risk,” said Deputy Chief Aaron Danielson with the Fairbanks International Airport Police and Fire Department.
Airports in states with legal weed have adopted different policies. In Portland, Oregon, pot is allowed on in-state flights. In Denver, it’s not.
The above-mentioned situations correspond to legal marijuana states.
For the rest of us who’d like to keep those few joints stashed at the bottom of the makeup bag, check out the HIGH TIMES Guide to Flying with Marijuana.