In March, the state of New York legalized the possession of up to three ounces of recreational cannabis by adults 21 and older. You can also now have up to 24 grams of cannabis concentrate. Following legalization, law enforcement within New York’s airports have been vocal about softening their stance on passengers with marijuana.
When asked whether the Port Authority would seize marijuana or arrest travelers carrying low amounts of it, the Authority simply said it would “enforce state laws.”
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“New Yorkers 21 years old and older can possess, obtain and transport up to three ounces of cannabis,” a spokesperson with the Port Authority said. “Therefore, PAPD does not issue tickets, seize or arrest for this amount at NY airports.”
The federal security director for 15 upstate airports, Bart R. Johnson, talked with the Times Union about the new policy. Johnson explained the officers overseeing airports simply aren’t looking for weed at this point.
“We don’t seize it. We just look for threats — explosives, knives, guns; we don’t look for illegally possessed narcotics,” Johnson told the Times Union. “When we notice something suspicious on a pat-down or something like that and then we discover that it’s marijuana … so we’re looking to see if it’s a threat. … If it turns out to be something that appears to be an illegal substance, we notify law enforcement.”
Sheriff Craig Apple is responsible for Albany County, the same area where Johnson is based. Sheriff Apple says his deputies patrol the airport and, in the past, have been called in by the Transportation Security Administration when those agents find a traveler with marijuana. That’s required by federal law even now; the TSA has to notify local law enforcement if an agent finds