As marijuana becomes legal in more of the country but remains a Schedule 1 drug in the eyes of the federal government, there’s been a lot of confusion around traveling with marijuana (including some back-and-forth around a website glitch that waived weed onto planes for a glorious moment, before it was taken down).
Related Story: Flying With Legal Weed: Does The TSA Care About Marijuana?
Michelle Cleaver, owner of Weed Dudes, a marijuana store in Sitka, Alaska, seems to have hacked the system. She discovered that she can pack five pounds of bud, or about 6,000 joints, or 65 pounds of edibles into her carry-on luggage, and the Transportation Security Administration only barely bats an eye.
How does she do it? Alaska Dispatch News reports:
She lets police know beforehand when she’ll be there. When she gets to the security checkpoint, she alerts TSA. TSA is a federal agency, but its focus is on security threats. Its agents don’t search for marijuana. If TSA agents see marijuana, they call law enforcement, according to TSA spokesperson Lorie Dankers. Law enforcement decides what to do, according to Dankers. The rest goes as follows: Airport police show up. They check the required travel manifest and other state documents. “As long as they have all of their proper Marijuana Control Board documentation … they can continue to travel at their own risk,” said Deputy Chief Aaron Danielson with the Fairbanks International Airport Police and Fire Department.
So, it’s at least partially about having the right documentation and being prepared ahead of time.
Jesse Davis, chief of the Anchorage Airport Police and Fire, told ADN that they’ve been alerted a handful of times to businesses traveling with marijuana, and it’s all gone smoothly.
Full disclosure is key, but there is one party Cleaver doesn’t share her secret stash with: The airline itself. All airlines follow Federal Aviation Administration regulations, which dictate that an airline is at risk if it “knowingly” carries marijuana. What they don’t know can’t hurt them, once she’s through TSA clearance. As long as the loud isn’t TOO loud; She gets a friend to smell-check her luggage once it’s all packed up.
While a common citizen flying around the country can’t pack a shit-ton of weed in their rolling bag and expect to whiz through security, business owners can use this loophole to transport product to hard-to-access locales like Alaska.