71 percent of Florida voters support medical marijuana. Tampa and several other cities have decriminalized small amounts of cannabis. But, by federal law, patients still can’t legally bring medical marijuana with them on an airplane. Now, Orlando International Airport is taking it a step further putting a policy in place banning pot from airport property.
Mother Renee Petro’s son, Branden, struggles with massive epileptic seizures, that have been controlled with cannabis oil. She just recently started using Cannabidiol (CBD) oil.
“He is responding so well, amazing. Six days, no seizures. Two weeks ago, he had 98 seizures,” says Petro.
But it Petro needs to hop on a flight with her son, the one thing that could keep him alive isn't allowed. TSA bans medical marijuana in checked or carry-on bags.
A TSA spokesperson tells 10News that while officers are not specifically searching for marijuana, it will be turned over to police to handle if found during screening.
“I understand it's federally illegal, but if I'm following my state law legally, TSA is not going to stop me. I will travel with my child's medicine, and I will show them the legal paperwork,” Petro says.
But now, fearing that federal funding could be yanked, Orlando International Airport is taking it a step further banning medical marijuana in all forms from airport property.
Travelers busted with it could be arrested.
“Banning someone's medicine sounds kind of cruel and inhumane,” Petro says.
A Tampa International spokeswoman says right now, leaders are not considering a similar, property-wide ban and will continue to follow the laws for the City of Tampa.
“You do you have this direct conflict between state law, that wants to pursue the legalization of cannabis, and federal law, which currently under the new administration takes the position that it remains completely prohibited,” says attorney Richard Blau with the Regulated Products Team of GrayRobinson.
TSA says it has no intention to become the pot police.
The Orlando Police Department has said it won't arrest passengers lawfully carrying medical marijuana.
“This is not a priority for them. They're more involved with protecting the public from dangerous weapons and from terrorists who might use them,” says Blau.
Petro believes it's time for the federal government to get on board.
“If they can't get their medicine, they're going to die, and you're banning that? Life is already so hard. Cannabis is federally illegal, and that's what we're trying to work on, federal law,” Petro says.
Orlando's new policy says medical marijuana will be confiscated.
Last year in Jacksonville, only 11 of the 2.8 million passengers screened were detained and cited for marijuana.
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