Two of Chicago’s airports, O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport, have installed “Cannabis Amnesty Boxes” for passengers to dispose of their recreational marijuana before boarding their flights.
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.
“We’re not encouraging people to bring cannabis through the airports at all,” Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Maggie Huynh said, as quoted by the Chicago Tribune. “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.”
Passengers began noticing the bright blue receptacles outside the TSA checkpoints at O’Hare and Midway last week.
“The boxes, placed at the end of every TSA checkpoint at both O’Hare and Midway, were in place once the new cannabis law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. The boxes are where travelers can safely dispose of cannabis and cannabis products prior to travel, as they still remain illegal under federal law,” said Huynh.
Though TSA and police are not targeting passengers carrying marijuana – it is legal to have the substance in the state’s airports – it is still illegal to fly with any drug, as airspace is regulated by the federal government and the drug is still illegal under federal law.
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.