The LAX airport seems to be packed, and not just with the busy travelers but with visually loud signage that warns passengers of federal arrest if they’re caught flying with cannabis. However, it’s not all that serious after breaking it down.
As we know, adult cannabis use in California is legal for recreational and medical reasons, similar to states like New York. Although these states aren’t too strict about their cannabis laws, you’d think that traveling with legal marijuana wouldn’t get you in trouble. That said, since cannabis is still illegal under federal law, and the federal law governs airspace in the United States, this means that flying with cannabis, even to and from states where it’s allowed, is illegal.
There still seems to be an abundance of flyers who sneak a gram or two in their pockets or carry-on when flying nationally, and simply because these laws are all bark and no bite, there isn’t that much risk involved. Usually, around the airport, you’ll find Transportation Security Administrations agents, who are not law enforcement.
However, law enforcement officers will assign TSA agents that are almost always local police or sheriff’s deputies who already enforce the law, which in California and New York says that cannabis is legal. Due to the above, the few but precious examples of passengers who got into extreme trouble when caught flying with cannabis are emphasized to scare others away from performing similar acts.
How are these acts being amplified to deter the public from smuggling cannabis? Authorities at LAX are now putting a new and loud spin on an old and dated tactic, threatening passengers who attempt to fly with cannabis with federal charges. Interestingly enough, stoner passengers shouldn’t fear just yet; several defense attorneys say these might be harsh warnings but seemingly empty threats.
Some of the aggressive signage passengers caught were located near security checkpoints at LAX. The signs are in bold uppercase letters with a large marijuana leaf inside of a crossed-out “banned” sign that reads, “ATTENTION, TRAVELLING WITH NARCOTICS = ARREST.” They couldn’t make their motive any more obvious.
These signs were put in place by Los Angeles World Airports authorities, who are in charge of both LAX and Van Nuys Airport. The new signs make it even more apparent what they mean by “narcotics,” which is “concentrated cannabis, cannabis edibles, and vapes.” So, before you go packing up last night’s freshly baked cannabis cookies, be on the lookout for authorities eager to bust you.