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Airport police declare SIA a no high zone

By Jeff Humphrey, KXLY4 Reporter , jeffhu@kxly.com
Published On: Jan 14 2013 08:25:05 PM CST

SPOKANE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT -

Washington's new law legalizing small amounts of marijuana will not keep you out of trouble if you plan on flying the friendly skies.

Officials with the Spokane International Airport Police Department say they have to confiscate any amount of marijuana if it's detected at security checkpoints. Even though a small amount of marijuana is legal, it still won't fly here at the airport.

"I think the chief wants to make sure and clarify, and we do as an institution, that we're going to be enforcing federal law, which means it's a felony for possession of any quantity of marijuana," airport spokesman Todd Woodard said.

As far as the federal government is concerned marijuana is still illegal in Washington state. While voters passed I-502, the federal government feels only a vote of Congress can decriminalize marijuana.

TSA screeners are federal employees, the airport gets a great deal in federal grant funding and airport police don’t want to jeopardize that federal funding.

"We sign grant assurances that say we will uphold and enforce all federal laws as a requirement for accepting those grants and aid," Woodard explained.

It doesn't even matter if your flight never leaves Washington state airspace; pack your marijuana for your next flight and if officials find it they will confiscate it.

"If our officers discover marijuana they can't give it back because they're in possession of a controlled substance at that point and they would have to seize and take control of it," Woodard said.

Because airport police are following federal -- not state -- laws regarding marijuana, they would forward the case to the U.S. Attorney's Office for possible prosecution.

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