Pitkin County Undersheriff Ron Ryan shows items left in the marijuana amnesty box at the Aspen airport. (Chad Abraham, Aspen Daily News)

Yes, travelers are ditching unused pot in airport amnesty boxes

Colorado police in Aspen and Colorado Springs are seeing some success with their amnesty box programs in airports

There are countless issues with Colorado’s legal marijuana as it relates to the outside world (just ask Oklahoma and Nebraska). One of those issues is people buying legal weed in Colorado and trying to fly with it.

It doesn’t matter where you’re flying — to another city in Colorado, to another pot-friendly state — flying with marijuana is always a no-no, says the federal government. And people seem to get that, for the most part.

In the first five months of 2014, Denver police wrote no citations and confiscated no marijuana at Denver International Airport, where pot is banned. Only 10 people were stopped with marijuana at DIA’s Transportation Security Administration checkpoints in the same time period, officials said.

“To have contact with 10 people out of millions passing through, it tells me most people are abiding by the rules and this is not a major issue,” airport spokesman Heath Montgomery told us at the time.


Uh oh: Guess what one TSA agent found in a peanut butter jar at Denver’s airport?


It was news, then, when airports in Colorado Springs and Aspen installed amnesty boxes, where travelers could dispose of their cannabis without consequences before they board a plane. The looming question remained: Would they get used?

At the end of 2014 we told you about Colorado Springs’ experience with their amnesty box, which had collected some pot-infused edibles and marijuana flower — not to mention a lot more.

“What we’ve gotten more than anything is unused prescription medication,” said Sgt. Matt Harrell of the Colorado Springs Police Department airport unit.

Now the Aspen Daily News takes us inside its airport’s amnesty box, which is seeing some action in the form of infused drinks and edibles, pipes and “several containers with leafy product.”

During its first year, an innocuous-looking box in the terminal at the Aspen airport saw plenty of people using it to discard marijuana products in order to avoid trouble in destinations where the drug remains illegal.

A sheriff’s deputy periodically confiscates the contents of the box and later disposes of them. In July, the disposables included five bottles of infused drinks, a couple of pipes, edibles and several containers with leafy product.

Surely the travelers who tried sneaking 36 ounces of pot-infused edibles into their luggage at Aspen’s airport in January 2014 would have been wiser using the amnesty box.