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CBD oil now approved for air travel

TSA will allow CBD oil on planes

TSA to allow CBD Oil and Medical Marijuana

PUBLISHED: MAY 30TH, 2019 - 6:37AM (EDT)UPDATED: MAY 30TH, 2019 - 7:25PM (EDT)
INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Many forms of CBD oil are now approved for takeoff by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. The federal agency announced this week that it will allow passengers to board planes with CBD oil in their checked or carry-on luggage.

The new policy marks a major shift for the TSA, which has consistently said that flying with any form of cannabis is illegal.

Earlier this week, the TSA quietly updated its position to permit CBD products made from hemp or approved by the FDA, as long as they meet guidelines of the 2018 Farm Act. That means the products may contain no more than 0.3%THC, the chemical associated with marijuana that can make users experience a high.

Unlike marijuana, which can contain high levels of THC, most CBD oil is produced from a different type of cannabis plant -- known as industrial hemp -- that has little or no THC.

The TSA policy change was first noticed on the agency’s website on a page for air travelers titled "What can I bring?" Contacted by WTHR Thursday afternoon, a TSA spokesman confirmed the new rule impacts airports and passengers nationwide.

Recognizing CBD oil and allowing it on airplanes is a stark contrast to the view other federal agencies currently take on the substance. The Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration still consider most forms of CBD oil to be illegal.

“It's a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. Not legal,” said DEA spokesman Rusty Payne, when he met with WTHR in 2017. “Maybe one day, the FDA will approve a CBD oil that has gone through proper trials, but until then, it’s a controlled substance.”

Last year, the FDA did approve Epidiolex, making the anti-seizure medication for children with epilepsy the first CBD drug to win FDA approval. The TSA said that approval played a role in its decision to now allow CBD oil products on planes. At the same time, the agency emphasized that marijuana and CBD oil with high amounts of THC are not permitted. According to its website:

"Possession of marijuana and certain cannabis infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law. TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law, including possession of marijuana and certain cannabis infused products … TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers. Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer."

Asked what would happen at the Indianapolis International Airport to travelers found to be carrying medical marijuana, a spokeswoman for Indianapolis Airport Authority told WTHR police “Airport police uphold the law and support TSA’s screening procedures…If TSA detects any illegal substance discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to IND police who will address it according to proper procedure.”

According to the TSA's website, FDA-approved medical marijuana is allowed in both checked and carry-on luggage, but the final decision on if the item is allowed through the security checkpoint lies with the TSA officer.

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