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By Steve Birr
Officials from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reiterated Wednesday travelers are not allowed to fly with medical marijuana after mistakenly approving the substance on their website.
For a brief period of time Wednesday the TSA web page dedicated to what items travelers can and cannot bring on a flight said medical marijuana is allowed on planes. The mistake caught the attention of several marijuana advocacy groups, who were initially excited over what they thought was a shifting federal view on medical pot, reports CNN.
Marijuana activist Tom Angell was the first to write on the apparent change in TSA policy, which caught the attention of the agency. TSA officials promptly fixed the mistakes, relabeling medical marijuana as a banned substance on flights.
“There was an error in the database of a new search tool that is now corrected,” Michael England, a TSA spokesman, told CNN. “While we have no regulations on possessing or transporting marijuana, possession is a crime under federal law. Our officers are not looking for illegal narcotics, but they have to report them to law enforcement when discovered.”
The agency notes that marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency alongside narcotics like heroin. The federal government does not recognize medicinal benefits in anything listed as a Schedule I substance.
Officials updated their website with further language on flying with medical marijuana.
“Whether or not marijuana is considered legal under local law is not relevant to TSA screening because TSA is governed by federal law,” the website explains. “Federal law provides no basis to treat medical marijuana any differently than non-medical marijuana.”
Medical marijuana is legal in 28 states and is legal in Washington, D.C., for recreational use. Voters in Maine, Nevada, California and Massachusetts all approved measures to legalize marijuana for recreational use on Election Day 2016.
Nearly one in five Americans now have access to legal pot.