Although the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said last year that it does not actively look for marijuana during security checkpoints, that has not made attempts to smuggle personal stashes across the friendly skies any less stressful, or devoid of bouts of crippling paranoia. That is unless you happen to be catching a plane in Oregon, America’s newest legal cannabis state.
Earlier last week, Fox affiliate KPTV reported that the Portland International Airport has established a new policy that allows travelers to bring small amounts of weed aboard flights, as long as their itinerary does not take them out of the state and the amount they possess is within the limits of the law. The airport has posted signs outside security gates to clarify the recent changes.
“Please be advised recreational marijuana is not permitted on flights traveling outside of Oregon.”
Unfortunately, this pothead privilege does not come without its fair share of inconvenience. Those caught in possession of marijuana by TSA agents can still be delayed getting through security until after the Portland Police Department determines they are carrying a legal amount – also confirming the traveler is at least 21-years-old and flying with the boundaries of the state of Oregon. With that said, high flyers will still want to do their best to slide through security without agents discovering their stash. And if they don’t ask, you don’t tell.
Stoners trying to smuggle small amounts of weed outside of Oregon will be required to vacate their place in line within the security checkpoint until after they dispose of their supply, according officials with Portland International.
Last year, in Colorado, “amnesty boxes” began to appear in the Colorado Springs Airport in an effort to give tourists a chance to ditch their weed before entering the security gates. However, a month after this system was implemented, all of the boxes remained empty. It seems that tourists were either risking the potential slap on the wrist associated with “forgetting” a container of pot in their luggage, or giving it away before they arrived at the airport.
The truth is, almost no one gets busted attempting to sneak a little herb past airport security. Last year, the Denver Post reported that within the initial five months of legalization, Denver police did not write any tickets or confiscate any amount of marijuana at Denver International. In fact, only 29 travelers out of the “millions” passing through the DIA terminal in 2014 were stopped by TSA for possession of marijuana. All of these people were allowed to dispose of their pot and carry on with their travel plans. The odds are definitely in your favor.
However, while it may be worth the risk in legal states to try to pass through security with a pocket full of weed, it is best to use caution when attempting this in states with prohibitionary rules. If marijuana is discovered, TSA agents always refer the matter to local police, which could lead to arrest and prosecution under the state’s drug laws.