NEWS
Thief Steals Leftover Pot From Chicago Airport’s Cannabis Amnesty Box
The blue boxes were installed at airports to let travelers ditch legal weed before their flights, but lately they’ve become self-serve pot shops.
Published on January 27, 2020

Any savvy traveler will tell you the key to beating airport traffic is to grab your post-arrival ride from the departing gate. And for one recent Chicago flyer, leaving Midway airport out of the departures gate came with an extra bonus — a free bag of weed.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a person arriving at the Illinois airport last week took full advantage of the Prairie State’s new legal weed infrastructure — minus the long lines and high taxes — when the unidentified person reached into one of Midway’s new cannabis amnesty boxes and left with a handful of free bud. The boxes were installed earlier this month to let tourists safely dispose of their legal weed before leaving the state, and were supposed to be locked and inaccessible to the public.

“Tampering with them, or attempting to remove anything placed inside, is a crime, and detectives are investigating this matter,” Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Sun-Times.

Once Illinois’ adult-use cannabis market went live at the beginning of the year, TSA and Chicago police officials stationed at both Midway and O’Hare airports said that they would turn a blind eye to personal cannabis possession. Rather, they would direct passengers to amnesty boxes if minor amounts of pot were discovered during security checks. Since the amnesty boxes are unmonitored until they are periodically emptied by CPD, cops say they are not sure what the unidentified thief got away with.

As the investigation into the airport amnesty theft continues, police said that they are also still unsure of how the suspect accessed the supposedly locked box. But while there are still a number of the original, apparently crackable blue boxes at both Midway and O’Hare, airport officials say they will soon be replaced by more impenetrable replacements.

“In the meantime, new, permanent theft prevention boxes are expected to replace the temporary ones in the coming weeks, making them more secure and preventing anyone from further accessing materials dropped inside,” Guglielmi of the Chicago Police said.

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Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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