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Need to Travel with Medical Marijuana?

The clash between federal restrictions and legal consumers could intensify

The clash between federal restrictions and legal consumers could intensify

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Flying high with marijuana may not always be a good trip. Even in the 29 states where medical marijuana is legal, traveling with it by air can be a problem.

The reason: Federal law says it’s illegal to carry marijuana in airline baggage or to transport it across state lines, the New York Times reported.

The quandary of taking it or leaving it affects many middle-aged and older Americans, who are increasingly using marijuana for medical reasons and otherwise.

Pot use has jumped almost 50 percent among those ages 45 to 54 since 2002. For those 55 to 64, marijuana use has skyrocketed by 455 percent, and for people 65 and older, its use has increased 333 percent, the Washington Post reported, citing recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some passengers take a risk and fly with marijuana because spotting the drug is not among the regular duties of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

According to the Times, TSA stopped only 29 of 54 million passengers for marijuana possession at Denver International Airport in 2015. All 29 agreed to throw it out or take it home. In Florida, where medical marijuana — but not recreational marijuana — is legal, only 11 of 2.8 million passengers screened last year at the Jacksonville International Airport were detained.

The clash between federal laws and legal consumers may get worse, the Times said, as more doctors write prescriptions for medical use and more states legalize it. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, meanwhile, has said he favors stricter enforcement of anti-marijuana laws.

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