Photo via rypson
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, and that counts for cannabis, too. To drive that point home, officials at Sin City’s McCarran International Airport have installed 10 large green cannabis disposal amnesty boxes outside of departing terminals, offering a safe and anonymous way for travellers to get rid of their weed before returning to the world of prohibition.
Since Nevada legalized adult-use cannabis in January 2017 and welcomed retail sales six months later, Sin City has emerged as the state’s green rush epicenter, with a majority of the state’s licensed dispensaries operating on or around the famous Las Vegas strip.
But while legal marijuana has quickly joined gambling and nightlife as yet another reason to ditch your responsibilities and hop on the first flight to the desert, local officials and regulators have turned the city’s primary transportation hub, McCarran International Airport, into a no-go zone for ganja. Under a city ordinance passed enacted in October 2017, police officers at McCarran have been instructed to cite any person found in possession of cannabis — a stark change from the first months of legalization, in which the airport operated with the same rules as any other Nevada sidewalk, home or business, allowing residents 21 or older to carry up to an ounce of pot.
Now, according to the Las Vegas Sun, with the strict airport possession protocol in place, the city has installed 10 large green amnesty boxes outside of airport entrances, giving departing flyers a place to ditch their bud before going through security checks.
Easily identifiable by their bright colors, the amnesty boxes work much like streetside mailboxes, with a drawer to deposit pot products, but no way to access any previously inserted goodies.
“The drawer pulls out; you drop your stuff in and you close it. You can’t really get your hand in there,” Christine Crews, McCarran spokesperson told the Sun. “If you start tampering with them, you’d be detected pretty quickly.”
Las Vegas isn’t the first city with legal cannabis to install amnesty boxes or other reminders to leave weed behind, with officials in Colorado Springs and Aspen reporting success with airport-based cannabis disposal boxes as far back as 2015.
In 2016, Southern California cannabis company Organa Brands put their own spin on weed-themed travel warnings, taking out advertisements in TSA security bins at San Bernardino’s Ontario International Airport, reminding travellers to get rid of any pot with the bold slogan “CANNABIS IS LEGAL...Traveling with it is not. Leave it in California."
Outside of the 10 amnesty boxes at McCarran International, Las Vegas officials say they have installed three cannabis disposal sites at the airport’s nearby rent-a-car center, with seven more boxes planned to be spread across entrances at Henderson Executive Airport and North Las Vegas Airport.
McCarran International officials have not said what will happen to the pot products left behind, but if we had to guess, there will be a long line of job applicants trying to get their hands on those keys.