If you’re going to be traveling through O’Hare or Midway airports this holiday season to a state where recreational marijuana is legal, it’s important to understand that when you’re in a Chicago area airport, you’re governed by Illinois law. That means that if you purchased some marijuana in one of the states where recreational cannabis is legal, you can’t bring it back with you unless you want to risk a less-than-welcoming homecoming.
If you’re going on a ski trip to Colorado or a beach vacation to Southern California, don’t bring your own marijuana with you. While TSA agents are focused on things more dangerous than marijuana, if they found some in your bag or in your pocket, they could call the police. It’s better to wait and buy it after you land.
Local investigative reporters found that last year, officials at O’Hare called the Chicago Police Department (CPD) 36 times regarding passengers with drugs. The CPD was called to Midway 23 times. Just five people were arrested for having marijuana, and all but one of those had over 30 grams. This year, there have been 25 drug arrests at the two airports.
While these numbers may seem low, it’s best not to take a chance on becoming a statistic. Perhaps a good rule of thumb is not to have any marijuana on you or in your luggage when traveling by air in or out of Illinois. If you are arrested for marijuana possession, even if you simply forgot you had it or were unaware of the regulations, it’s important to seek legal guidance.