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National News

May 25, 2014

Denver airport: Passengers comply on no pot rule

DENVER (AP) — Denver’s airport is seeing few challenges to its marijuana possession ban, airport and police officials said.

Airport spokesman Heath Montgomery told The Denver Post Thursday that 10 people have been stopped trying to take marijuana through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints. None was cited.

“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,” Montgomery said.

People have cooperated when officers told them to discard their marijuana or leave it in their cars or with the people who brought them to the airport, Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson told the Post. Because it is legal to possess pot in small quantities under Colorado law, police have not arrested anyone with it at the airport, Jackson said.

Airport officials imposed the ban in December because marijuana remains illegal under federal laws and the federal government regulates the aviation industry. If TSA workers, who are federal, catch someone with marijuana in their luggage, they call Denver police, who have jurisdiction at the airport, according to airport spokeswoman Julie Smith.

If police were to cite someone, it would be an administrative charge under airport rules, Montgomery said. The fine for a first offense is $150. Signs posted around Denver International Airport warn passengers they could be fined if they are caught with marijuana.

The Obama administration is letting Colorado go ahead with its marijuana legalization experiment, but wants it contained. The administration also is pressing Colorado and other states that have legalized marijuana to keep organized crime out of the pot business and ensure the business does not become a cover for the trafficking of other illegal drugs.

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