dallas woman arrested for cbd oil in airport

CBD oil confiscations at Dallas airport have ‘skyrocketed,’ official says — and passengers may be arrested

Passing through the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport could be a real buzzkill for CBD enthusiasts.

An official working at DFW says the number of travelers being detained for carrying CBD oil (i.e., cannabidiol oil derived from hemp plants) has “skyrocketed” over the last six months, KXAS reported.

In addition to detaining passengers, airline officials will also confiscate any CBD oil that contains even trace amounts of THC, the cannabinoid most recognized for giving marijuana its psychoactive properties.

The airport’s police will also respond to cases wherein a passenger’s CBD oil tests positive for THC, and arrests have been made, according to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection director working with DFW.

“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,” CBP Port Director Cleatus Hunt Jr. told KXAS.

Of those arrests, one was a 71-year-old woman who used CBD oil for pain relief. She was booked on a felony drug possession charge, the outlet’s investigation discovered.

Lawmakers in Texas are currently discussing the legality of products containing CBD, as federal law allows for CBD products containing 0.3 percent THC, while Texas allows for only CBD products containing 0 percent, KPRC reported.

Earlier this week, the Texas House of Representatives approved a bill that would make CBD products with low levels of THC legal to sell and possess, according to the Dallas Morning News. The state’s Senate will debate the bill in an upcoming meeting.

Airport authorities will also confiscate the oils, which are illegal in Texas if they contain even trace amounts of THC, or the cannabinoid most recognized for giving marijuana its psychoactive properties. (iStock)

In the meantime, passengers passing through DFW will still be stopped, and potentially arrested, for possessing CBD products that fail to comply by the current regulations.

That said, Hunt’s advice for travelers intending to leave from, or fly into DFW with CBD is simple: Don’t.

“If just simply isn’t worth it,” he told KXAS.

Cannabinoid oils, which are usually derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, are often sold as relaxation or pain-relief supplements. Experts say the levels of THC often found in commercially available products is far too low to produce a “high” in users, though studies on mice and rats have shown CBS oil to be effective in treating certain forms of inflammation. The FDA, too, has reported on evidence of cannabinoids to be effective in treating rare forms of epilepsy.

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Dallas woman arrested for cbd oil in 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.”

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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.”

Traveling Grandmother Jailed for CBD Oil: ‘I Slept on the Floor… Next to the Toilet’

A trip to Oregon with a stop at DFW Airport ended with a woman spending two nights in jail

By Scott Friedman and Jack Douglas Jr. • Published on May 21, 2019 at 4:57 pm

What to Know

  • Traveling with CBD oil or hemp-based derivatives could you get arrested at the airport.
  • While CBD does not contain enough THC to give anyone a high, it can be enough to test positive.
  • With CBD laws differing state-to-state, including in Texas, travelers face a confusing patchwork of enforcement.

Lena Bartula, at age 71, is an accomplished artist and proud grandmother who had an unsettling experience as she passed through North Texas on her way to visit her granddaughter in Oregon.

In fact, a nightmare, she said, would be a better description for when police officers slapped handcuffs on her at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport after they found cannabidiol (CBD) oil in her travel bag.

The Fort Worth native, who now lives in an artist community in Mexico, was told she was under arrest.

“I think I almost laughed out loud, because I thought that couldn’t really be,” Bartula said in a Skype interview with NBC 5 Investigates.

She realized it was no laughing matter when, handcuffed, she was driven to the DFW Airport Jail where, “I slept on the floor, my head next to the toilet.”

It was a far cry from the peaceful, picturesque community in Mexico where Bartula runs a popular gallery.

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And it only got worse the next day — she said her arms and legs were shackled, and she was moved to the Tarrant County Jail in Fort Worth to spend another night behind bars, then facing a felony drug charge.


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“I had no idea what would happen to me,” Bartula recalled.

A year ago, arrests for CBD at the airport were “almost non-existent,” said Cleatus Hunt Jr., area port director for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at DFW.

“But in the last six months, the interception rate for that has skyrocketed,” Hunt said.

Attorneys for the CBD industry said federal authorities have no right to detain someone with the product. They argue that hemp-made CBD was legalized in December with the passage of the federal farm bill.

But customs officials said they were still in the process of implementing the new federal rules so, for now, products with THC are still prohibited at ports of entry, such as the one at DFW Airport.

As a rule, if federal authorities detect THC, they notify the airport police who likely will make an arrest, because state law prohibits CBD oil with any amount of THC in it.

CBD oil has become a health craze, both in Texas and across the country, with users saying it does such things as ease their anxiety and soothe their aches and pains.

For Bartula, she said it was those aches and pains — so common as the years add up — that caused her to use CBD for relief.

Her case was dropped, when a Tarrant County grand jury declined to move the case forward.

Still, those nights in jail have convinced her to never again pack CBD in a suitcase when she travels — a bit of advice she’s quick to give to her friends.

“I have warned everyone I know, because most people my age, with my kinds of aches and pains, do take this,” said Bartula. “They rely on it.”