Imagine walking through an airport. It’s a nice day. You’re ready to go home. You’re approaching TSA, reach in your bag for your ID, and what do you find instead? A beautiful joint you were stoned enough to forget about days ago. Usually, this is a dream come true, but at certain hard-assed airports in the country, it’s a nightmare. Bless the city of Chicago, though, ‘cause two of their airports are looking out for nervous marijuana users and flyers.
Cannabis Amnesty Box
O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport now have amnesty boxes. Drop a joint in there before going through TSA, and you’re excused and forgiven. TSA and the police aren’t looking for cannabis users at the airport, anyway, but it’s an option to put a traveler’s paranoid mind at ease.
It’s not even illegal to have marijuana at those airports, but under federal law, it’s still illegal. Airspace remains forever run by the federal government. The boxes could prevent flyers from having any trouble at their destinations where, for whatever reason, they’re not as 420-friendly.
The Amnesty box is owned by the Chicago Department of Aviation, and it’s run by the police. The cops will handle what’s left in the box and write up very boring reports about the disposed weed.
It’s Not Encouragement
Busting harmless travelers for weed isn’t TSA’s style in Chicago, but according to Maggie Huynh, a spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department, they don’t want people encouraged to fly with pot because of federal law (source: Chicago Tribune):
“We’re not encouraging people to bring cannabis through the airports at all. But if for some reason you have it on you, we have those amnesty boxes out there so that you can dispose of it prior to getting on the airplane.”
Other airports in the country have amnesty boxes. Famously, Las Vegas was the first to do it at McCarran International Airport, a place nobody wants to get busted for weed. In Juneau, Alaska, the police are friendly enough to give passengers a chance to throw away their pot or return it to their parked cars. Very kind indeed. As for airports less friendly towards cannabis, there are a couple in the midwest and the south of the United States not to mess around with. Go with your gut.
There’s Still a Risk and a Cost
Lots of potheads fly with weed everyday with no trouble, and most airports do not care. Some, however, do care, which can lead to serious trouble. TSA doesn’t even go out of its way to look for marijuana, but if they do discover it, agents are instructed to tell the police about a federal law broken. Not all agents do that, but some are unpleasant enough to do it. A spokesperson for TSA, Sari Koshetz, confirmed what TSA is instructed to do if they find pot on a traveler:
“In the event a substance that appears illegal is discovered during security screening, our officers will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer, who then follow their own procedures.”
Legal to Buy in Illinois
Marijuana is now legal for consumption in Illinois. Residents are allowed up to 30 grams on them at a time. Anyone visiting from out of town is only permitted to half of 30 grams, which is around an ounce. Selling cannabis legally only began over a week ago in Illinois, which is when the amnesty boxes were installed. In only a span of five days, $10.8 million dollars worth of cannabis was sold. With almost $11 million in sales in five days, just imagine imagine all that tax money and happy consumers. A win-win for the state of Illinois and the people of Illinois. Add cannabis to another one of the million reasons why to visit Chicago sometime.