When Chicago police installed so-called “cannabis amnesty boxes” in the city’s airports earlier this month, the idea was to provide a safe repository for travelers to dump their weed.
But in that, one apparent thief saw an opportunity. Authorities in the Windy City said this week that someone snatched an item from a box located at Midway Airport.
Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Chicago Sun-Times that an individual “removed an unknown object from inside” from the box on Monday evening.
“Tampering with them, or attempting to remove anything placed inside, is a crime, and detectives are investigating this matter,” Guglielmi told the Sun-Times.
Local officials announced earlier this month that the cannabis amnesty boxes have been installed at O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport. Positioned at each airport’s TSA checkpoints, the boxes will serve as a receptacle for travelers who would like to ditch their marijuana products before boarding.
Flying High in Chicago
Domestic travelers passing through Chicago airports like O’Hare and Midway won’t be arrested if they’re caught with cannabis in their carry-on, as TSA has said they would defer to local law enforcement on the matter should an agent find marijuana on a traveler. Chicago police have said that so long as those travelers are within the guidelines of the state’s new marijuana law, they won’t enforce anything—though that shouldn’t be interpreted as encouragement.
“We’re not encouraging people to bring cannabis through the airports at all,” Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Maggie Huynh said earlier this month. “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.”
Illinois’ new law, which took effect on New Year’s Day, permits adults aged 21 and older to purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana. The law, signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last summer, will also result in the pardons of more than 100,000 individuals previously convicted of low-level, non-violent marijuana offenses. Illinois is the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana.
The city’s airports currently are using temporary amnesty boxes. Guglielmi told the Sun-Times that “new, permanent theft prevention boxes are expected to replace the temporary ones in the coming weeks, making them more secure and preventing anyone from further accessing materials dropped inside.”