THC Vape Carts & Air Travel in the US – Everything You Need to Know

vape with a thc cart

You’ve probably looked at your discreet THC vape before a recent trip and thought: “That thing is tiny – I bet I could get on a plane with that… no issue”.

Or you’re encouraged by the recent changes in many US state legislatures that are finally making marijuana legal, both medically and recreationally.

Both reassuring things when you’re considering taking cannabis across state lines… but they don’t change the fact that boarding a plane with a THC vape cart could land you in hot water with the federal government.

Here’s why.

Flying with THC vapes – legal or not?

Flying with THC vapes – or cannabis in any shape or form – is a federal crime in the United States.

Despite different state laws around marijuana in the USA, flying with THC vape cartridges remains completely illegal due to federal regulations. This means that when you’re traveling to or from a state where cannabis is legal, certain places at airports (like TSA checkpoints) and air planes on tarmac actually flying to and fro, are under federal jurisdiction.

In these cases, the federal law trumps state law… which means that possession of THC or cannabis is illegal and carries a fine, a prison sentence, or both. 

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TSA Checkpoints and Federal Jurisdiction

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints are federal territory. In these areas, most cannabis products are still illegal, regardless of state laws. This includes THC cartridges with more than 0.3% THC, as well as cannabis gummies, topical creams, marijuana buds, and similar products. This also includes your medical marijuana. 

So, yeah… even with a medical licence, you’re still breaking federal law.

It’s worth noting that TSA, the security agency at airports, is not actively searching for drugs. Their primary focus is on ensuring the safety of air travel. However, if they do discover THC products during their routine screening procedures, they are required to report the findings to local law enforcement. This means that, even if you are not explicitly targeted for possessing THC cartridges, you could still face legal consequences if your contraband is discovered.

Hemp-based carts with less than 0.3% THC

One way to potentially skirt this issue is to travel with THC cartridges that contain less than 0.3% THC and have the original packaging with the product declaration prominently displayed. This declaration can be crucial when dealing with authorities, helping demonstrate that the product falls within the legal limit.

THC vapes on a plane

Still a federal crime… though if you’ve been lucky enough to board with your carts, you’re probably fine at this point.

Just remember – no vaping on the plane. And it goes double for THC carts. If caught, you’re looking at a world of trouble that will only be made worse by the fact that you’ve been caught red-handed with a Schedule I Drug in your possession.

This only applies to THC vapes – you can travel with vaporizers for e-liquid. And all vape devices, pens, and batteries are safe to fly with, as long as they’re not loaded with contraband.

Bringing THC Carts and Disposables to the Airport

While it’s vital to understand the federal laws regulating cannabis on airplanes, it’s equally important to note that authorities discourage the possession of THC vape carts on airports.

These laws are different from state to state, but advice doled out by the authorities is typically the same – don’t risk it.

Local Laws in Recreational States

In some states where recreational cannabis is legal, you may be allowed to have a certain amount of marijuana on your person. However, local authorities often emphasize that traveling with these products is unwise and may lead to legal troubles. Always check the laws in your specific state to avoid misunderstandings.

Amnesty Boxes

Some airports have amnesty boxes where travelers can voluntarily leave their cannabis products before boarding a flight… without risking a run-in with the law. 

The concept behind these boxes is to give everyone a chance for a last-minute change of heart and to rid themselves of any items they may have (over)confidently brought to the airport. While this option might not be ideal for everyone, it’s a way to prevent legal hassles while also adhering to airport regulations.


In the end, flying with THC vape cartridges in the USA is possible – many people get away with it, at least according to the Reddit threads I’m reading.

But it’s definitely not legal. The first offence with a tiny amount in possession is a misdemeanor… but could come with a 1-year prison sentence AND $1000 fine attached.

If you’re caught, state laws don’t offer any protection, so think twice before risking it.

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