It’s not quite what you think, although the concept is somewhat the same — a breakthrough in TSA policy will now allow some cannabidiol (CBD oil) and medications on planes. In April 2019, the Life Science Matters blog wrote about the drug Epidiolex paving the way towards changes in policy and we are now seeing the first tangible result. The Transportation Security Administration modified its cannabis policy to allow flight passengers to bring some forms of CBD oil and FDA approved marijuana based drugs on flights.
As with all things cannabis and law/policy related, the key is in the minutia; any medications or oil that is brought aboard a flight must be a FDA approved medication or hemp-derived product in compliance with the regulations set forth by the Agricultural Act of 2018, or 2018 Farm Bill (compliant CBD).
This, in and of itself causes some issues as “hemp” is actually a broad classification of cannabis and is not a legitimate nomenclature for the plant. Technically all cannabis falls under the broad spectrum of hemp or marijuana. However, the Agricultural Act of 2018 narrows the scope. For practical purposes, hemp is a strain of cannabis that contains 0.3% or less THC content by dry-weight and is considered non-intoxicating.
Thus, CBD oil that is derived from hemp is now permissible, whereas CBD oil derived from a cannabis plant that contains high level of THC is not. While this is a breakthrough in policy that touches the national scope, it creates an amorphous grey-area of questions. The principle question is how will these new regulations be enforced? How will the TSA distinguish between oil derived from different sources? How will the TSA determine if there is even THC in a bottle of oil? Will a label be enough or will on-site testing suffice? Given that transportation of cannabis across state lines is a felony, how will the TSA handle probable cause?
Stay tuned as we learn more.