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Hemp products and CBD meds cleared for takeoff

Food and Drug Administration-approved hemp products like certain CBD medications are now allowed in both carry-on and checked bags.
A federal screener works at a checkpoint at Miami International Airport, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Miami. The Transportation Security Administration acknowledged an increase in the number of its employees calling off work during the partial government shutdown. LYNNE SLADKY AP
Published May 28

TALLAHASSEE -- Heading out of town? Now your cannabis can come along, too.

In an update to its website’s “What Can I Bring?” section, the Travel Security Administration clarified that Food and Drug Administration-approved hemp products like certain CBD medications are now allowed in both carry-on and checked bags.

The clarified language was quietly posted Sunday.

In the past, TSA did not differentiate between marijuana and other hemp derivatives and warned that cannabis products wouldn’t be allowed in carry-on bags or checked luggage.

Marijuana Moment, a marijuana policy blog, first reported the update.

In December the $867 billion federal Farm Bill, among other things, classified hemp as an agricultural commodity and took it off the federal controlled substances list. Hemp, a form of the cannabis plant, contains only trace amounts of THC — the naturally occurring component in marijuana that produces a high. Cannabinoid oil, or CBD, can be extracted and processed from the hemp plant to be used for medicinal purposes.

Even though the FDA has approved certain hemp and CBD products, the sale of those products was not legal in Florida until the state passed a bill to authorize a state hemp program this spring.

The governor has not yet signed the bill into law.

Possession of marijuana and some other cannabis products is still illegal under federal law, and TSA officers will still be required to report any suspected possession violations, a TSA spokeswoman said. If any illegal substances are found during the routine security screening, the TSA refers the matter to local law enforcement.

TSA confirmed that its officers were being briefed on the change, which came about after the FDA approved a cannabis-derived seizure medication called Epidiolex.

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“TSA was made aware of an FDA-approved drug that contains CBD oil for children who experience seizures from pediatric epilepsy,” the TSA spokeswoman wrote in an email. “To avoid confusion as to whether families can travel with this drug, TSA immediately updated TSA.gov once we became aware of the issue.“

Some local airports said the rule change would not change the way they operate, while others were not aware any policies were altered at all.

Tampa International Airport spokeswoman Emily Nipps said since the rule change only applies to TSA operations, it will not “affect or change our airport operations,” she wrote in an email. The airport will continue to follow state law, which maintains that medical marijuana cannot be consumed on public transportation, in a public place or on an aircraft, she said.

“We continue to follow state laws regarding medical marijuana and CBD products,” she wrote.

Miami-Dade Aviation Department spokesman Greg Chin wrote in an email the department was not yet aware of any briefing or updated rule until a reporter called.

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