Getting busted with anything more than an ounce of cannabis in most parts of the U.S. is destined to get an unsuspecting traveler arrested and jammed up in the criminal justice system.
The legalization of marijuana in just a handful of states has made Americans gutsy when it comes to breaking drug trafficking laws. Ever since the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) came out and said that they “do not search for marijuana,” more toking travelers have been using the airways to smuggle weed from legal states into areas of prohibition.
And why wouldn’t they, huh? It is relatively easy to get small amounts of weed through security checkpoints, and there are no repercussions for those who get caught. What’s more is once the weed clears TSA personnel, there is no chance of it being found before it reaches its final destination.
Or is there?
It appears that law enforcement in states that have not yet legalized marijuana has made it part of their mission to try and stop travelers from bringing weed in from legal states. Police are now visiting airports and turning drug-sniffing dogs loose on people’s luggage before they are sent to the baggage claim. They want to make sure that the pot being purchased legally in 11 states is not finding its way to their neck of the woods. It’s a practice that, just last week, led to a few travelers, including a Little Rock attorney, getting arrested on possession charges, reports Arkansas Online.
The article states that police were at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport last week using a K-9 unit to inspect baggage from incoming flights when the pooch alerted on six suitcases. The baggage was eventually claimed by three people. Two of the bags were picked up by a local attorney, another two by a California woman, and two more by a Little Rock resident. A total of 126 pounds of marijuana was found in the bags.
All three suspects were charged for possession with intent to deliver — a felony that carries hefty fines and years in prison. In Arkansas, “possession of between 25 pounds and less than 100 pounds of marijuana with the intent to deliver it to another individual is a Class B Felony, punishable by a mandatory 5-year minimum sentence, up to 20 years, and a fine not to exceed $15,000,” according to NORML.
The main takeaway is that law enforcement is getting more proactive in combatting all of this domestic drug trafficking business. Sure, these random airport checks might be another failed attempt at fighting the so-called drug war, but rest assured the cops in prohibition states are going to continue catching a few people, here and there, who dare try and benefit from the country’s conflicting marijuana laws. Let’s hope their little reefer roundup doesn’t include you or a member of your family.
This news should be enough to at least strike paranoia in those people who have grown complacent about traveling with weed — especially those who sometimes carry amounts that could get them in deep trouble. Getting busted with anything more than an ounce of cannabis in most parts of the U.S. is destined to get an unsuspecting traveler arrested and jammed up in the criminal justice system. There is also the possibility that these offenders could get slapped with federal drug trafficking charges. After all, despite the changing marijuana laws in some states, the federal government still considers weed an outlaw substance. And they are sending people to prison for it.
While the TSA might not care about someone taking marijuana on a plane, the police forces back home might. And they are watching. So, be sure to familiarize yourself with local marijuana laws and understand that there could be consequences for those who use the airlines to smuggle weed.