Got pot but need to fly? Colorado airport has the answer

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
Yahoo News
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An employee weighs portions of retail marijuana to be packaged and sold at 3D Cannabis Center in Denver, Tuesday Dec. 31, 2013. Colorado is making final preparations for marijuana sales to begin Jan. 1, a day some are calling "Green Wednesday." (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

If you're flying out of a Colorado airport and you're carrying marijuana, get ready to dump it in the trash. And to facilitate said dumping, one airport is providing "amnesty" boxes for travelers to ditch their pot before boarding flights out of state.

Colorado's legalization of recreational marijuana has forced the state's airports to formalize policies banning pot on their premises to comply with federal aviation laws. In response, Colorado Springs Airport began installing the boxes — labeled "MedReturn drug collection units" — on Wednesday, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

In addition to the "amnesty" boxes, passengers who are found with marijuana during screening by the Transportation Security Administration will have the opportunity to give up the pot without penalty, the paper reported. But "once the doors on an aircraft are closed, the passengers are subject to federal law."

All marijuana discarded or confiscated inside the airport will be destroyed, according to the report. Officials at Eagle County Airport near Vail, Colo., are considering similar pot boxes.

“What we don’t want is them throwing it in the trash can,” Greg Phillips, the airport's aviation director, told the Gazette. “Then you have other people digging through the garbage.”

Last week, Denver International Airport formally banned marijuana, and officials said they will be asking travelers with weed to throw it away.

“We will be asking passengers to discard [it] in trash receptacles,” airport spokeswoman Stacey Stegman told NBC News.

"Marijuana is on the list of TSA’s prohibited items," Stegman said earlier this month. "We as an airport have a responsibly to honor that."

She said the airport "did not want to be in the position of facilitating the transport of marijuana to other states."

Under Denver International's new pot policy, workers or visitors caught with marijuana will face a fine of up to $150 for the first offense. Subsequent offenses may lead to fines of up to $999.

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