People might carry weed with them to the airport for a couple of reasons. As long as there are drug laws, there are going to be drug smugglers. But then there’s also the accidental smuggler: the person who forgot that left that pipe in their backpack or that baggie in their jeans pocket.
In Las Vegas, a city with complex cannabis laws and a whole lot of cannabis-using visitors flying in and out, the airport has found an easy, merciful solution to prevent as many people as possible from being arrested for illegal drug possession.
McCarran International Airport has installed 13 drop boxes around the premises, with 7 more on the way. Called “amnesty boxes,” they function much like post office boxes. “The drawer pulls out; you drop your stuff in and you close it. You can’t really get your hand in there,” Christine Crews, spokesperson for McCarran, told the Las Vegas Sun. “If you start tampering with them, you’d be detected pretty quickly.”
Right now it’s actually legal to possess cannabis at the airport, as cannabis has been legal in Nevada for months now. But in October, a Clark County (home to Las Vegas) ordinance will outlaw cannabis possession on airport grounds.
At that time, if someone is found in possession of pot, local authorities will be called. If the possessor has less than an ounce of flower, or less than an eighth of concentrate or edibles, they will get their stash confiscated and a slap-on-the-wrist citation. If they have an ounce or more of flower, or an eight or more of concentrates or edibles, they will be arrested and charged with felony drug possession.
That’s where the handy amnesty boxes come in. Although it’s unlikely that someone would forget about their ounce of weed until they get to the airport, the drop boxes will be handy for people with smaller amounts, or maybe would-be drug smugglers who get cold feet. The drop box can be used for all sorts of controlled substances, not just cannabis.
VICE News reached out to McCarran officials to find out where all those amnesty box drugs go once they’re collected, but did not get a response. Maybe the local Metro cops are getting a new perk on the job.
Photo via Flickr user A320