Marijuana 'amnesty boxes'

McCarren ‘Cannabis Amnesty’ Receptacles a Social Perk for Vegas Summer Poker Gathering

Not to be too blunt about it, but a healthy percentage of the high-stakes poker pros who descend upon  Las Vegas each summer for major poker events are frequent users of marijuana. And now, in a bonus social benefit for those who are traveling to Vegas from other jurisdictions where pot use isn’t legal, Las Vegas’s McCarren International Airport has enacted a small safeguard for their departure: A total of ten large, green “Cannabis Amnesty” boxes scattered around the facility where departees can dump their legal-in-Nevada weed before flying off to more restrictive locales.

McCarren itself has a no-marijuana ordinance, despite the fact that Nevada is among the small handful of US states where pot use is legal. Nevada legalized marijuana use by adults in January of 2017, and the first legal cannabis dispensaries, licensed by the state, opened shop last summer.

As for the deal at McCarren, on site officers and airport security have been instructed to write a citation to any person caught with pot, and since it’ll be seized anyway along with citation, pot-smoking poker players would be well advised to dispose of anything they intentionally or accidentally brought to the airport. The ordinance has been in effect since October of 2017, meaning players who visit Vegas only in the summer might not be aware that the rules have changed.

Pot and poker don’t necessarily go hand in hand, but there’s a strong positive correlation, as one might guess, given the lifestyle. Prominent poker pros such as Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Ivey (somewhere on the web, there’s a photo of a seemingly well-baked Ivey) have been among those seeking corporate licensing for marijuana dispensaries.

It’s simply not a big deal, even if we do end up reporting here at Flushdraw about those who might take it a bit too far, such as the recent East Coast arrest of poker veteran Micah Raskin on dealing and possession charges. Raskin’s activity might not have resulted in what might be a significant prison term had he set up business in Nevada, but it it is what it is.

The Cannabis Amnesty boxes feature a mailbox-styled design, meaning what goes into any of the boxes stays in there until removed by security at a later time. “The drawer pulls out; you drop your stuff in and you close it. You can’t really get your hand in there,” McCarran spokesperson Christine Crews told the Las Vegas Sun.” If you start tampering with them, you’d be detected pretty quickly.”

The large receptacles, each painted in bright, multi-colored green, are scattered near all of McCarren’s terminal entrances. Three more such amnesty receptacles are located in the major car-rental centers adjacent to the airport.

Whether or not the use of the boxes by anyone carrying pot can be termed a “success” isn’t really the point. Again, the boxes are there to serve as a reminder that behavior legal in Nevada is not necessarily legal in other jurisdictions. It’s also not the first such program in the US, and it appears to be modeled after programs at airports in Colorado, which was one of the “first mover” states in the US regarding marijuana legalization.


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