Someone apparently snatched some weed out of a box at Midway Airport Monday evening that’s intended to give travelers the opportunity to ditch their pot as they go through security — because it’s illegal to carry marijuana across state lines.
At approximately 6:03 p.m., an unknown individual reached into the box and “removed an unknown object from inside,” Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in an emailed statement.
“Tampering with them, or attempting to remove anything placed inside, is a crime, and detectives are investigating this matter,” Guglielmi said.
The box — officially known as a ‘cannabis amnesty box’ — has been in place at Midway since recreational weed was legalized in Illinois at the beginning of the year.
The box is a temporary design.
“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 said.
There’s currently one temporary box at Midway. There are 12 temporary boxes at O’Hare Airport.
The bright blue boxes are owned by the Chicago Department of Aviation, but serviced by the Chicago Police Department, according to Maggie Huynh, a police spokeswoman.
Even though marijuana is still illegal under federal law, authorities have no intention of arresting people caught with the drug at Chicago airports.
Instead, TSA says it will defer to police if they find someone carrying pot. And Chicago police, while advising against traveling with the drug, say they won’t arrest people if they aren’t carrying more than what’s allowed under Illinois law.
So why should people use these blue boxes instead of, say, a more discreet trash can? Because only officers can access and empty them, Huynh said, which can help keep pot and related products out of the wrong hands.
The boxes are being regularly checked and cleared by police. If cops find any weed in the boxes, they write up a report and inventory, then dispose of the pot.