Marijuana isn’t supposed to be a passenger on commercial flights, but airport police in Alaska are adopting new policies. Owner of Weed Dudes, Michelle Cleaver, takes a few precautions before she boards her flights while toting pounds of marijuana and marijuana products with her. She was rather nervous on her first flight.
Cleaver’s first marijuana-packed flight was nearly a year ago, on December 30, Kaplan Herald reports. Since then, other state-legal marijuana businesses have followed suit. Some areas of the state are only accessible by air or water, so this is a way to bring legal marijuana to those areas.
Cleaver said, “I was so scared, and I learned that I needed to find a new antiperspirant because mine failed miserably.”
How does she take a federally illegal substance aboard commercial flights? It took a few months, but Cleaver finally got a system down. First, she informs police ahead of the flight and lets them know when she’ll be flying. Once at airport security, TSA is informed. TSA agents don’t search for marijuana, so as long as it’s not visible and they’re informed – they’re not raising a ruckus about it.
Now, TSA contacts the airport police. They arrive and review travel manifests and other required state documents. As long as everything checks out – the marijuana businesses are permitted to board. Both the Anchorage airport and Fairbanks International Airport have adopted new policies, in line with other airports allowing the leafy passenger (like in Portland, Oregon). The businesses can transport their products throughout Alaska only – they cannot be on flights going anywhere else in the country.
Deputy Chief Aaron Danielson of the Fairbanks International Airport Police and Fire Department said, “As long as they have all of their proper Marijuana Control Board documentation…they can continue to travel at their own risk.”
Why is it “at their own risk”? Well, once in the federal airspace – travelers are on their own when it comes to flying with marijuana. The airport police may be letting them board with their products, but they can’t control what the feds may do should the passenger be confronted by federal authorities.
So far, there haven’t been any issues. Police in Juneau haven’t taken up the new policy. Officers will inform airlines if the TSA allows marijuana aboard a flight.