Just so there’s no confusion, officials at Denver International Airport are taking steps to remind people that growing marijuana on airport property is prohibited.
The largely unnecessary warning is part of the airport’s blanket ban on marijuana possession as Colorado prepares on Wednesday to become the first state in the country to allow for retail sales of recreational pot.
Amendment 64, the law passed by voters in 2012 legalizing adult possession and use of marijuana, allows individual facilities to set their own rules about what’s allowable. Until recently, adults could possess small amounts of marijuana at the airport as long as they weren’t flying. The new blanket restriction is to reduce the chances of smuggling, an airport spokeswoman told the Denver Post, and to ensure compliance with federal laws that continue to regard the drug as illegal.
“We talked to all of [the federal agencies with a presence at the airport], and they’ve expressed concern for good reason, but it was our decision based on the way the airport operates,” DIA spokeswoman Stacey Stegman said. “We didn’t want to impact other airports and other agencies, and we didn’t want to facilitate transporting marijuana across state lines.”
The airport will soon display warnings to travelers that say: “It is unlawful to possess, consume, use, display, transfer, distribute, sell, transport or grow marijuana in this airport. Violators may be fined up to $999.”
DIA is the first city facility to officially ban marijuana, the Post reported, and at least one outspoken activist said it’s within its right to do so.
“They are probably within their rights this time, for once,” attorney Rob Corrytold the Post. “Not the answer I would prefer, but it is what it is.”
Still, DIA officials said they are not planning to go out of their way to look for pot. The Post noted that the only canine working with the Transportation Safety Administration at DIA isn’t trained to sniff for drugs, but only for explosives. Airport representatives said the ban on pot would only be enforced if the substance is discovered during screening or incidental to investigation for another crime.
That policy mirrors that of Denver Police, who said in an article on Monday that officers would not be actively looking for people who break the “no smoking in public” law.
“I am not going to have a team of officers specifically going out looking for people smoking marijuana,” Police Chief Robert White told the Denver Post. “If we get complaints or run into it, we’re certainly going to investigate it. We have to balance our resources as it relates to addressing these issues.”
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