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Colorado Springs Airport, DIA take common-sense approach to accidental pot

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Let’s say you’re about to return home from a fabulous five-day Colorado vacation. On your trip, you legally purchased a quarter ounce of marijuana -- the limit for those with an out-of-state ID -- but upon entering the airport, you realize there are still a few joints leftover in your pocket. What are you supposed to do?

Today at the Colorado Springs Airport, they’re installing amnesty boxes as a solution to that problem.

Although it’s legal to possess up to one ounce of marijuana in Colorado, pot is still illegal under federal law. And while airports aren’t exactly known for their lax security policies, both Colorado Springs Airport and Denver International Airport are taking a common-sense approach toward dealing with passengers who have mistakenly brought legal amounts of marijuana with them when catching a flight.

In the Springs, amnesty boxes are being installed so that passengers who have accidentally brought pot to the airport can leave it behind without fear of criminal charges. The boxes can be accessed prior to going through security, but you won’t be able to pick it up when returning; all marijuana left behind will be destroyed by police. For in-state residents heading out of town, officials are recommending leaving their pot behind in the car.

At DIA, their approach is even simpler; just throw it in the trash.

“We’re asking for common sense,” DIA media relations director Heath Montgomery told Examiner on Wednesday morning. “We’re not looking to ticket people.”

It is possible, however, to be ticketed if found with marijuana in the airport. Both Colorado Springs Airport and DIA have officially banned pot from all areas of the airport due to federal aviation regulations. Montgomery said that those who are caught with small amounts of marijuana could face fines up to $999 dollars based on a tiered system for repeat offenders. According to the Daily Mail, in Colorado Springs those fines could be up to $2,500 with possible jail time.

Still, it’s clear that at both airports, small amounts of pot mistakenly brought to the airport will be treated in much the same way as pocket knives, large bottles of liquids, and other banned items.

So you can relax, Mr. I-have-too-many-joints guy. And next time, consider buying an eighth or less -- a quarter ounce is an awful lot of weed to burn through on a five-day vacation.

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