The so-called “cannabis amnesty boxes” set up at Chicago, Illinois’ two major airports are hardly used, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. It is the responsibility of the Chicago Police Department to empty the boxes and from January 2020 through March 20, 2022, only 34 collections have been made, including 22 at O’Hare and 12 at Midway.
Only half of the logs show that either cannabis or products suspected to be cannabis were retrieved from the boxes, which were installed following legalization in the state, while the other half of the logged items don’t specifically mention cannabis – one lists only “plastic bags” which could indicate the boxes may be being used as trash cans, the report says. Police destroyed 14 items found in the boxes but in most cases, the items are simply logged as “received,” according to the data provided by police in an open record request by the Sun-Times.
In January 2020, shortly after the boxes were installed at the two major travel hubs, someone stole cannabis from one of the boxes at Midway, which was unlocked. Security cameras from the incident showed a man opening the box – which is positioned near security checkpoints – and grabbing its contents. The individual was never caught, according to the Sun-Times, and it remains the only incident of theft at the boxes.
A month later, the original boxes were replaced with ones that are more mailbox-like, making it harder to access by those without a key. The 12 new boxes cost the Chicago Department of Aviation about $29,000, a department spokesperson told the Sun-Times.
While cannabis for adults is legal in 18 states, Washington D.C., and the territory of Guam, it remains prohibited under federal law and, therefore, is banned from airplanes.
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