As of July 1, it is now legal to carry up to an ounce of marijuana on flights from Portland International Airport to other destinations within Oregon. Officials confirm that the airport revised its policy as the statewide recreational marijuana law went into effect, legalizing use for anyone 21 or older and permitting possession of up to an ounce in public places.
Portland’s KPTV explains that TSA at Portland International Airport will report anyone found carrying marijuana to the Port Police. (This much is consistent with official TSA regulations in which agents “do not search for marijuana and other drugs” but will refer any that are found to local law enforcement.) From there, Oregon’s Port Police will make sure the possession falls within the legal limit, check the age of the passenger, and determine whether the flight destination is in-state. If so, the Port Police will let passengers go on their way.
For anyone who flouts the new rule and tries to bring no more than an ounce of marijuana with them on an out-of-state flight, there’s some good news too: since it’s still legal to have marijuana in Oregon, Port Police will merely make traveler get rid of that pot rather than prosecute. Steve Johnson, media relations manager of the Port of Portland, tells Travel + Leisure that crossing state lines with recreational marijuana is a federal crime and so response might vary, but “most commonly the traveler will be asked to leave the secured area… and safely secure the recreational marijuana before traveling.”
Portland’s policy is similar to airports in Washington State, which legalized recreational marijuana last year. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that authorities at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport will only charge or confiscate pot if officers determine there’s been a violation of the law. Like in Oregon, travelers are forbidden from crossing state lines with it.
In Colorado, meanwhile, airports have taken a slighter tougher approach. According to USA Today, Denver International bans marijuana anywhere on its property, while Colorado Springs Airport has set up amnesty boxes for flyers to discard any pot that they’d accidentally brought with them to the airport. (Though apparently very few people have been caught with pot so far in Denver.)
Note that these policies do vary by airport and local authorities, and it’s unclear what the policies are for flying out of Oregon’s other smaller airports. But still, it’s a good time to be a pot-smoking airline passenger in Portland.
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