Per a recent announcement, security in several major New York airports are no longer searching for low-level possession of cannabis. Better yet, police are not issuing tickets and arrests to travelers if they do happen to find it.
Checkpoints in airports like Albany International are no longer seizing such quantities on account of the state’s recreational legalization of marijuana. This is a huge step forward not just for New York, but for the rest of the states that have legalized cannabis as well.
TSA isn’t looking for your cannabis
Former State Police colonel Bart R. Johnson is the current federal security director for 15 upstate New York airports. He said that when they are searching for contraband or illicit items, marijuana is not on that list. It only makes sense, since New York State legalized possession of marijuana up to three ounces in March.
“We don’t seize it. We just look for threats… explosives, knives, guns; we don’t look for illegally possessed narcotics,” Johnson told Times Union. He did say however, that if they happen upon marijuana that does not appear to be legal, they will still notify law enforcement.
New York law enforcement aren’t seizing it, either
”We don’t take it anymore,” Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple stated. His department patrols the Albany International Airport. Deputies are sometimes called to the checkpoint when cannabis is found on a passenger. Apple said that they are not issuing tickets, let alone arrests, if the amount the person has is less than three ounces.
Apple went on to say that in the past years, his department made “dozens” of arrests and tickets for possession of marijuana in the airport. It seems those days have fortunately come to an end. “It’s legal if not more than three ounces, and, well, have a nice day,” he said.
While TSA is still required to notify law enforcement when an illegal substance is found, they are not a law enforcement agency themselves. This means that local police/enforcement makes the call. So we are seeing the relaxed policy thanks to New York State law. Soon we will ideally be seeing other states follow suit as restrictions are relaxed.