Police at Albany International Airport and other major airports in New York State will no longer make arrests, tickets or seizures for possession of small amounts of cannabis (less than 3 ounces or 84 grams) by travelers.
This new policy is one of the consequences of New York’s recent legalization of cannabis for adult use.
According to Bart R. Johnson, former state police colonel and current director of federal security for 15 airports in upstate New York, “we don’t get it. [le cannabis]. We’re just looking for threats – explosives, knives, guns; we are not looking for illegally possessed narcotics. “
On the contrary, if a suspected illegal substance is discovered during the search for contraband linked to a threat by TSA agents, “we inform the police.”
Agents of the TSA, a federal agency, are required to notify local law enforcement when they encounter an illegal substance, and cannabis remains federally banned. But cannabis has been legalized in New York City, and Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple has said that if a passenger is found to be carrying cannabis, officers will no longer take action unless the amount of cannabis appears to exceed the state’s three-ounce possession limit.
“We’re not taking any more,” Craig Apple told the Times Union. “It’s legal if it’s not more than three ounces and, hey, have a nice day.”
This change follows similar policy changes in other post-Prohibition states. In 2018, LAX officials in Los Angeles announced that the airport would allow the possession of cannabis by travelers. Las Vegas has done the same for travelers leaving the state.
Last January, Chicago airports set up so-called “cannabis amnesty” boxes (mansety box) where travelers can drop off their cannabis they were carrying before going through security.