A member of the Los Angeles City Council wants to provide tourists leaving town with a way to legally dispose of their extra cannabis.
City Council member Mitch Englander would like to see “amnesty boxes” at LAX. The green bins would be set up in various locations throughout LAX for travelers to dispose of their cannabis legally before boarding their flight.
Although cannabis is legal in California, it is still illegal in many states and remains a Schedule One banned narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Agency. LAX travelers could still run the risk of being arrested for possession when they arrive at their destination.
Despite cannabis being banned federally, TSA agents will not confiscate it from travelers and they do not have the authority to make arrests. Agents have the option of referring possession cases to local law enforcement. In Los Angeles, possession of up to one ounce of cannabis flower is legal so the LAPD will not arrest travelers caught with small amounts.
“Airport Police handle possession of marijuana at LAX consistent with the manner in which all Los Angeles police officers within the city handle possession,” LAX Airport Police Spokesperson Rob Pedregon said according to the LA Times. “If an adult citizen is found in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana no legal action is taken and the citizen retains their property. There are no special considerations made because of the location.”
Pedregon did say his officers alert travelers that cannabis may not be legal in the state they are traveling to.
“But here in the state of California we are enforcing our laws,” he said.
Pedregon still urges travelers to consider dumping their cannabis stash before boarding their flight.
“You could be at a minimum held over and searched and miss your flight,” he said.
Nevada has also set up “amnesty boxes.” There are approximately 20 green bins set up around McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas for tourists to ditch their cannabis before passing through security. Unlike LAX, Nevada authorities may not let passengers board their flight if they find cannabis on them.
Councilman Englander’s may not receive the support of LAX police worried about the potential security issues that could arise from offering the green boxes.
“We wouldn’t want to compromise our security and introduce a place where a terrorist could covertly deposit an IED [improvised explosive device],” Pedregon said in an e-mail. “Therefore no considerations have been made to install amnesty boxes.”