Traveling through airports in New York State? Police are no longer seizing marijuana, making arrests or issuing tickets for low-level possession at the airport checkpoints. The policy change highlights the new rules for Cannabis as New York legalized it for adult use, reports the Times Union. New York legalized this year.
Marijuana isn’t something security officers are looking for when they pat down passengers or search luggage, according to Bart Johnson. He’s a former State Police colonel, now the federal TSA security director for 15 upstate airports including Albany International.
“We don’t seize it,” Johnson, who is based at Albany International Airport, said. According to the security director, “We just look for threats — explosives, knives, guns. We don’t look for illegally possessed narcotics.”
“When we notice something suspicious on a pat-down or something like that and then we discover that it’s marijuana … so we’re looking to see if it’s a threat. … If it turns out to be something that appears to be an illegal substance, we notify law enforcement.” (Don’t forget, now: marijuana is legal in New York, and adults can possess up to 3 ounces.)
Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple’s department patrols the airport. He said deputies are occasionally summoned to the security checkpoint by Transportation Security Administration officials when they find marijuana.
The sheriff said they no longer issue tickets or make arrests if the Cannabis is less than three ounces.
Deputies used to annually make dozens of arrests for unlawful possession of marijuana at the airport, Sheriff Apple said.
“We don’t take it anymore,” he said. “It’s legal if not more than three ounces and, well, have a nice day.”
The TSA is required by federal law to notify law enforcement of what appears to be an illegal substance. But while marijuana is still consider illegal under federal law, the TSA is not a law enforcement agency. And, once again, weed is legal in New York.