Customs Officers Arresting Passengers for CBD at Dallas Airport
If you’re taking a trip to the Dallas area, please leave your CBD at home.
That’s the warning being given by U.S. Customs and Border Protection port director Cleatus Hunt Jr., who manages the comings and goings at Dallas Fort-Worth airport. Because if you do bring your cannabidiol oils, tinctures, topicals, or vaporizers on your trip, they will be seized, and there’s a good chance that you’ll end up getting arrested.
According to a deep dive investigation from a local Dallas NBC affiliate, CBD seizures have spiked at DFW airport over the past year, leading to increased oversight from border patrol, and heavy-handed punishments from local police.
"I would say a year ago it was almost non-existent," Hunt Jr. told NBC5. "But in the last six months, the interception rate for that [CBD] has skyrocketed."
But even as Hunt Jr. and his team notice a jump in the number of travelers carrying non-psychoactive CBD products, what they are really looking for is THC. And while that may historically have lead drug dogs and agents to vacuum-sealed bags of bud, these days, border protection officers in Texas have widened their scope.
Now, they are testing every CBD product they find, looking for trace amounts of THC and seeking arrests if they find any.
For a product to be considered hemp and not marijuana, it must contain no more than 0.03% THC. Since the production and distribution of hemp and its byproducts were legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD products with less than 0.03% THC are legal under federal law.
But without any regulations currently enforced in the rapidly growing hemp CBD market, many products sold in head shops, health shops, and online surpass that strict legal threshold. And in Texas, they sure are strict.
To wit, earlier this year, a 71-year old woman traveling into Dallas Fort-Worth was arrested and charged with a felony count after customs found trace amounts of THC in a vial of what she told police was "CBD oil which she used as medicinal pain relief."
Texas legislators are currently debating legislation that would legalize hemp CBD in accordance with federal law. The state is also making progress on a decriminalization bill.
But, for now, passengers caught with any sort of hemp or cannabis product at DFW airport risk jail time.
“One single incident, one single small amount of CBD oil that you thought was cool to take on a trip with you, could result in life-changing effects for you," the customs port director said.
“Don't do it. It simply isn't worth it."