FAA releases Documents About Cannabis

It came to light recently, via an article by Tom Angell “The Obscure 45-Year-Old-Law Exempts State-Legal Marijuana” ,  that the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) had a rule regarding Cannabis.

The Rule authorizes the transportation of Cannabis when authorized by the State or Federal government.

Sec. 91.19 — Carriage of narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may operate a civil aircraft within the United States with knowledge that narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances as defined in Federal or State statutes are carried in the aircraft.

(b) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to any carriage of narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances authorized by or under any Federal or State statute or by any Federal or State agency.

This article sent us on a document hunt with the FAA.  We wanted to see why the FAA made this rule change.

It appears from the documents revealed that the FAA had a regulation which made it a violation to transport against Federal Law and between the US and Mexico.  They wanted to update the regulation to include those that violated a state law as well.  The purpose was to be able to remove licenses of those convicted of federal or state law.

However the way it ended up, the wording is clear that State Legal Cannabis is EXEMPT from Federal Aviation Regulations.  It makes sense that they allowed this change too.  If a State Law Agency needed to transport something via Air it needs to be allowed.  However they didn’t include that provision in the regulation.  This leaves open the legal door to legally be allowed to transport cannabis so long as your following state laws, and if you are your EXEMPT from federal law.

You can view the original filing and final rule change announcements made in the Federal Register back in 1973 in our FOIA documents section, specifically the FAA page.