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Charles T. Ganz

Can I fly with pot if I’m flying to a state where it’s legal?

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2022 | Drug Crimes

The news around marijuana seems to always revolve around decriminalization. After all, in most states, it is already legal in some form, and the current federal administration pardoned all simple possession convictions. This may lead some to wonder whether if they are flying from Houston, Texas, to a state where it is legal, can they bring pot on the plane?

Transportation Security Administration security checkpoints

If you have flown before, you know that you must pass through a TSA security checkpoint. During that interaction, they will perform a search of your belongings and do a full-body scan. In addition, they will search your bags. However, they are not looking for drugs. Instead, they are looking for TSA-prohibited items that are a danger to the airport, airplanes and the passengers and crew. And, TSA officers are not commissioned law enforcement officers, so they cannot arrest you, if they find drugs on you.

What happens if they find pot?

As a result of these searches, TSA officers commonly find marijuana. However, what they do with that information depends on the state and local municipality. If it is illegal in the state where you are, like here in Texas, you will be detained by TSA. They will then contact the airport or local police to report you for drug possession (and trafficking, depending on the amount). Depending on where you are and the amount of weed you have, those law enforcement officers will either arrest you or ticket you.


Marijuana is illegal in both Houston, Texas, and at the federal level. As such, flying with weed is illegal, even if you are flying to a state or country where it is legal. This means that, at a minimum, TSA will force you to throw away your weed, even if it is legal locally. Ultimately, whether to charge you is up to local law enforcement and the district attorney.

The two entities may actually disagree, as is the case in Dallas. There, the DA has said they will not prosecute minor possessions and first-time offenses, but the airport or local police may still arrest and charge you, even when they know those charges will be dropped later.

Drug charges

As with all drug charges, the crime is hyper local and different from state to state and from city to city. This is why, when you are faced with drug charges, you need a Houston, Texas, attorney immediately.