Although marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, making anything and everything pertaining to the cannabis plant a leper in the eyes of Uncle Sam, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is reportedly being sponsored by the cannabis industry in some California airports—well, at least the TSA security bins are.
According to a recent story published by the folks at the Los Angeles Times, travelers entering the security checkpoint at Ontario International Airport, which is located in San Bernardino County, will now notice that all of the security bins used to shuttle personal belongings through the X-ray machines are lined with a sticker that reads, “Cannabis Is Legal,” followed by the tagline, “Traveling with it is not. Leave it in California.”
How Cannabis Appeared In TSA Security Bins
What makes this pothead service announcement such a big deal is the fact that this is neither a state nor federally funded initiative aimed at preventing unnecessary shakedowns in terminals all across the United States. The ads are actually part of a public awareness campaign sponsored by a seven-year-old cannabis company called Organa Brands, which is responsible for O.PENVAPE and other popular cannabis brands.
Organa’s public relations manager Jackson Tilley is the mastermind behind the “Cannabis Is Legal” airport campaign. He was inspired to launch the concept in California after noticing advertisements for vape pens displayed inside the Denver International Airport.
It was a long shot that Jeremy Heidl, co-founder of Organa, believed was “never going to happen.”
But come to find out, all the company had to do was convince the airports to get onboard.
While the top brass of the government’s TSA would never allow its domain to be plastered with signage proclaiming that weed is now legal, the agency actually does not have much say in the matter.
The report from the Times indicates that local airports obtain the trays through a contract with a company called Security Point Media, which has the patent on all of the plastic trays used in airports all over the nation.
Therefore, whatever the administrative forces of an airport decide to do with its trays—even if that means paying some bills by way of a sponsorship from a member of the legal cannabis industry—is completely up to them.
But that doesn’t mean that every airport feels confident enough with that freedom to taunt federal officials.
In fact, a similar campaign, which was supposed to read, “Cannabis is illegal to carry across state lines,” was first set to appear on the bins at Sacramento International. However, right before the ads were set to go public, airport officials dumped the idea over concerns that it might bring down some unwanted heat with the federal government.
Mixed Reactions To Pot Ads Appearing In TSA Security Bins
Los Angeles Times reporter Robin Abcarian says the reactions to the TSA security bins campaign are mixed.
“On Thursday, I bought a one-way plane ticket from Ontario to Oakland just to get a close-up view. When I passed through the security checkpoint Friday morning, I have to admit, I started chuckling when I came upon the trays,” she wrote of her experience. “Three TSA agents who ushered me through the line were less than enthusiastic. They said they were perplexed, even taken aback. Passengers, however, were either mildly amused or blasé.”
As it stands, TSA does not actively search for marijuana during security screenings.
If an agent discovers weed, the matter is referred to local law enforcement.
In California, which legalized for recreational consumption last year, the worst that can happen to a traveler is they lose possession of their herb before boarding a flight. Yet, in areas of prohibition, getting busted with weed at an airport almost ensures a person will miss their plane and spend time in jail.
Indeed, all of the differences in the various state marijuana laws have a tendency to confuse the average person. But everyone flying out of Ontario, California, knows, without a doubt, that “Cannabis Is Legal.”