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Will the TSA arrest me for marijuana?

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2022 | Drug Offenses |

Flying has never been more frustrating and stressful than it is today. With historic demand and historically low levels of staffing, the airline industry constantly faces travel debacles.

If you are unfortunate enough to have one layover, you may find that a single day trip expands to multi-day legs where you bounce around the country on a desperate search for home.

Perhaps the stress has led some Kansas City residents to want to bring cannabis or other drugs with them. Doing so means they run the risk that law enforcement officers will arrest them for drug possession or some other drug crime.

Can I be arrested?

By the Transportation Security Administration? No. By airport or local law enforcement? Depending on the state and the drug, possibly yes.

Specifically, TSA officers are not commissioned law enforcement officers in Missouri or anywhere else in the United States. This means they cannot arrest people.

Indeed, when they screen passengers, their baggage and airline cargo, TSA agents are not looking for illegal drugs. Even TSA dogs are not training to sniff out drugs.

What happens when they find drugs?

Since their searches are not for drugs or marijuana, what happens when TSA agents find drugs in your luggage or on your person will depend on where you are and the drug in question.

If the drug you have is legal where you are, then the TSA officer will likely force you to throw it away, and then allow you to proceed to your flight or past security.

Conversely, if you have drugs that are illegal in the state, the TSA will confiscate the drugs and detain you. You will not make your flight. They will then contact the airport and local police. It is the airport or local police who will arrest and charge you.

Drug charges

For our Kansas City looking to avoid drug charges, do not bring drugs to the airport. It is not worth the time and headache, especially if you end up facing a conviction and all the resulting consequences of such a conviction.