For local marijuana users, the patchwork of city, state and federal laws can make operating day-to-day life complicated, especially when traveling. After all, some marijuana derivatives are legal in Texas, and the Dallas District Attorney’s Office has said it will not prosecute first-time offenders and those in possession of tiny amounts.
However, marijuana is still illegal under federal law, except for limited exceptions for academic and medical study. So, what happens if the Transportation Security Administration catches you with drugs?
First, TSA officers cannot arrest you or charge you because they are not commissioned law enforcement officers. They can only search you, your bags and anything else going onto an airplane. If they find something illegal, like drugs, then they confiscate it.
The type of drugs is key
If the drugs TSA confiscates are illegal in that state, then TSA will hold you for the airport or local police to pick you up. The local or airport police will arrest and charge you, but the local district attorney will decide whether to move forward to fully prosecute those charges.
What does this mean for Dallas?
For travelers at Dallas’ Love Field, these distinctions can be important. If TSA finds you with a Texas-approved medical use marijuana derivative, depending on the TSA agent’s knowledge, they may let you keep it or confiscate it, but you will likely continue.
If TSA catches you with a small amount of marijuana, the agent will confiscate it. It is likely that airport or Dallas police will also arrest you. However, the district attorney may not prosecute you.
If TSA catches you with a larger amount of marijuana or any other illegal drugs, again, the TSA officer will confiscate the drugs. Then, you will face arrest, charges and likely prosecution for drug charges. Nonetheless, the moment the cuffs come out, begin asking for your attorney.