What happens if they find weed on me at the airport?

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

Since the current federal administration has pardoned simple possession convictions and our state allows for medical marijuana, one may think that it is now legal to travel with weed. Indeed, some may think it is okay to fly with marijuana. That is simply not the case in any state, including Florida.

Transportation Security Administration officers

For context, Transportation Security Administration officers are not law enforcement. They search potential passengers, their bags and cargo for TSA prohibited items that could harm the plane and passengers, but that does not include drugs or marijuana. Even those dogs you see roaming around the airport are not even trained to look for drugs. They are truly bomb-sniffing dogs. Essentially, this means that TSA officers do not arrest you if they find drugs.

What happens really depends on where you are located

This context is important because what happens to you when a Florida TSA agent finds drugs on you or in your bags largely depends on where the airport is located. While weed may still be illegal federally, since TSA officers are not law enforcement, if they find weed on you, what they do largely depends on the airport’s location.

In states where pot is illegal, TSA will detain you, and report the drugs to the airport or local police. Then, the district attorney decides whether to pursue those charges. This is also an important distinction because many local DAs have pledged not to pursue low-level marijuana possession. Conversely, if the state has legalized marijuana, TSA agents may just require you to trash your pot. Then, they will allow you to proceed to your flight. However, if you are carrying a large amount of weed, they could make a referral to federal law enforcement or local police.

Drug charges proceed as usual

If you face drug charges after being busted by a TSA agent, your criminal prosecution will proceed the same as for anyone else facing drug charges. This is why you should immediately ask for a Bartow, Florida, attorney, and work with them to build your defense.