In order to help passengers avoid trouble, some airports have installed “amnesty boxes,” so people can ditch a leftover stash before entering the airport. But are airport amnesty boxes of any use?
The amnesty boxes might be useless according to some
According to The Cannabist, TSA officials in Denver, Colorado, have found cannabis on only a couple dozen travelers each year since recreational marijuana was legalized there in 2014. Compared to the number of passengers using the airport, well above 50 million per year, such incidents as very rare.
If we look at it like that, the amnesty boxes don’t seem necessary. Even if someone carries cannabis through security, TSA officials will contact the police who determine if the amount is for personal use or if it qualifies for trafficking. In case of a small amount, considered for personal use, the passenger can just throw it in the trash can at the checkpoint, without being charged for possession. So the question for many travelers is: If that’s how a cannabis misstep is treated, why would people use the amnesty boxes? *Note: We, of course, do not endorse taking cannabis through security.
Others say the boxes might benefit tourists
Clark County, Nevada, has banned advertising and possession of cannabis inside their airport, and on airport-owned property. The boxes are located outside the airport, close to the entrance, so people notice them. An ordinance is listed on the boxes, to explain tourists (and others) it’s illegal to carry cannabis inside.
Mashable notes that tourists, especially, might benefit from these boxes. We can imagine someone enjoying the fact they can legally buy cannabis in Nevada, and forget it’s still in their bag or pockets when they’re on their way to catch their flight home. The bright green boxes aren’t only located near the airport, but also at car rentals. This way you’re reminded to check your pockets when you drop of your rental car, or before entering the airport.
So are airport amnesty boxes worthwhile? That’s probably up to the individuals traveling. We definitely don't see any harm in them.