With many states relaxing marijuana laws, traveling with it remains a gray area. One question in particular that we’ve seen is: Can you fly with weed on a private jet?
While many states have their own rules about marijuana possession, usage, and sales, the law about air travel and marijuana remains clear: Flying with marijuana is illegal.
That’s because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, and air travel is also regulated at the federal level. There are other implications to consider, too.
Smoking Marijuana on Flights is Illegal – and Dangerous
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, it wasn’t uncommon for passengers to light up a cigarette mid-air. That practice ended in 1990, when a smoking ban was issued for all U.S. domestic flights, and eventually worldwide.
This ban was enacted because of the dangers that smoke presents to passengers and the aircraft itself. Smoking poses a fire risk and has been linked to in-flight fires, including the EgyptAir crash in 2016.
Smoking weed on a private jet increases the health and safety risks for passengers and crew members. There’s a risk of contact high, which may affect the pilots and impair their ability to safely operate the aircraft. Also, since the cabins of private jets are smaller than that of larger commercial jets, it wouldn’t take much to fill the cabin with smoke and odor.
Case in point: world-famous singer Justin Bieber and his private flight from Canada to New Jersey. The crew repeatable asked him and his travel party to refrain from smoking marijuana during the flight. The smoke filled the cabin so badly that the crew had to don oxygen masks for most of the duration. When the plane landed, the DEA was waiting on the tarmac.
And if you do manage to board a plane and get airborne with a marijuana stash, don’t think you’ve gotten away with it. Rapper Li’l Wayne was met by federal agents when he touched down in Miami due to a tip they received that he had drugs in his possession.
What the Law Says About Marijuana and Flying
Currently, 38 states have legalized medicinal marijuana and 19 states have authorized the sale and distribution of recreational marijuana. Still, marijuana remains illegal on all flights, including private jet charters. All airports and aircraft, regardless of size or commercial status, are regulated at the federal level. They’re also subject to enforcement through federal law.
This means that all passengers, crew, and pilots are legally prohibited from bringing marijuana on board a private aircraft. Marijuana cannot be consumed on board an aircraft, even for those in possession of a medical marijuana card. Again, this goes back to how marijuana is regulated at the federal level.
Penalties for Bringing Weed onto a Private Aircraft
Both crew and passengers are held to high standards when it comes to maintaining health and safety. If a crew member suspects that a passenger may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol before the flight, they might refuse the passenger access to the aircraft. If they suspect the passenger may have drugs in their possession, they can refuse the passenger access to the aircraft. Suspecting a passenger of these risks and failing to act could result in the loss of employment or license for the pilot or crew member.
Passengers that ignore this advice and attempt to bring marijuana on board a flight could face serious financial penalties and jail time. For the first conviction, the consequences could amount to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. These penalties increase substantially for subsequent offenses.
When flying private, we advise you to follow all federal rules and regulations. It’s just not worth the risk, plus it puts others around you at risk.
For questions or help planning your upcoming private jet trip, reach out to our concierge today.