Orlando Airport Blocks Medical Marijuana
Millions cheered when the Florida House approved Amendment 2 opening the gates for legal medical marijuana; yet, despite recent legalization, one Florida airport is explicitly restricting the possession of medical marijuana on its premises. Around the same time that new medical marijuana laws went into effect, the Orlando International Airport in Orange County banned legal marijuana.
The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Board issued a new policy that prevents visitors from traveling with their prescription marijuana medication. Whether travelers are flying to or from a state that permits medical marijuana is irrelevant; they cannot have marijuana in their possession at any time whether they are in the air or moving through the airport. If they try to, they may face marijuana charges. The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Board moved ahead with this policy to avoid potential conflicts with the Federal Aviation Authority Board, which provides grants for Orlando International Airport.
To receive grants, Orlando International Airport must comply with all federal laws. According to Marcho Marchena, airport lawyer, federal officials never approached the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority about medical marijuana regulations. Still, they feel it is best to avoid any possibility of losing funding.
TSA, OPD Not Interested in Pursuing Possession of Legal Medicine
Although Orlando International Airport has banned the substance, it remains unclear who will make the arrest, if anyone, when a passenger attempts to walk through with a legally-prescribed medication. The TSA has explicitly stated they are uninterested in pursuing passengers for having marijuana on their person or in their luggage. A spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration claimed her agency targets “terrorism and security threats.” TSA agents actively search for things that can harm passengers, like firearms and explosives.
The Orlando Police Department has also stated they will take no action if a person lawfully possesses medical marijuana. While other airports throughout Florida recognize that federal laws still regard marijuana as a Schedule I substance, they will generally abide by state law. Airports in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, and Tampa have not adopted a similar ban.
Classifying marijuana as a Schedule I substance lumps medical marijuana (which has been shown to help individuals suffering from a variety of medical conditions) with several dangerous drugs known for having a high abuse potential without recognized medical applications.
As an increasing number of medical professionals prescribe medical marijuana to help patients treat a variety of conditions, the conflict between state and federal laws will only grow more complex. Attorney William Umansky and his team of criminal defense lawyers have the experience necessary to fight for your rights should you be subjected to legal action for marijuana possession in Central Florida. Contact our law office or chat with us online undefined 24/7 to discuss your case for free.