A dream vacation at the “happiest place on earth” quickly turned into a nightmare for 69-year-old Hester Burkhalter and her family. Burkhalter was arrested at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida after Disney security found Cannabidiol (CBD oil) in her purse during bag checks at the entrance of the park.

The great-grandmother starting using CBD oil to treat her chronic pain caused by arthritis after her physician suggested it. According to her attorney, Burkhalter’s physician faxed a copy of her prescription for CBD oil from Tennessee to Orange County on the day of her arrest. After spending 12 hours in jail, Burkhalter posted bail and the charges were dropped.

With the legislation regarding medical and recreational marijuana use varying from state to state, it can be difficult to travel with prescription marijuana or any medicine containing THC or CBD.

Is CBD Oil Legal?

Cannabidiol is derived from marijuana but does not contain THC or cause the same “high” like THC. The legislation regarding CBD and CBD oil is still not clear and varies from state to state — sometimes city to city. While CBD is legal under federal law, there are still regulations placed upon it. For example, federal law states that adding CBD to foods is the same as a prescription drug additive. So, without a prescription from a doctor, CBD in food or drinks is illegal. However, in Colorado, a law states that parts of the marijuana plant can be added to food. In Missouri, where medical marijuana was recently legalized, it’s legal for CBD to be served in alcohol.

Conversely, states including California and Georgia, as well as New York City, banned adding CBD to food. In Texas, Ohio, and Nebraska, people have been arrested for selling products containing CBD regardless of whether they contain levels of THC higher than the legal 0.3%.

The legality of CBD oil is a gray area for a lot of states, so it’s important to research the state you may be traveling to. Helpful resources break CBD laws down state by state according to the latest legislation that passed.

What To Do If Your Prescription Is Illegal While Traveling

People with prescriptions from their doctor for their medication don’t typically think twice about packing what they need when traveling, but because laws vary from state to state it can be helpful to follow some guidelines when packing your personal belongings and medications.

Some helpful tips include:

  • Plan ahead. Because laws are different in each state, research the current legislation of the state or country you’re traveling to.
  • Label and pack medication properly. It is suggested to pack your prescription medications in their original container or packaging. Make sure the name on the bottle, your prescription and your form of identification are all the same.
  • Carry the necessary documentation. It is recommended you bring your original prescription or obtain copies of your prescription from your physician. You may also get a letter from your doctor listing your medications and why you need them.
  • Know the name and amount of active ingredients. In addition to the documentation you bring, be sure that the generic and chemical names of active ingredients are listed.
  • Reduce or Substitute Medication. Because laws vary from state to state regarding the amounts of certain ingredients in medications that are legal, talk to your doctor about reducing or substituting your medication at least during your trip.

Being and prepared and knowing the current laws of the place you’re traveling to is the best way to ensure that you won’t experience any prescription-related legal issues.

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