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Pot-friendly states can't really stop carry-on weed

Airport Pot Amnesty
Casey Parker, with Colorado Springs Airport Operations, installs a marijuana amnesty box outside the security checkpoint at the airport in Colorado Springs, Colo.Mark Reis / AP

In Washington and Colorado, it can be easier to get through airport security with a bag of weed than a bottle of water.

Washington's airports are powerless to stop travelers flying with carry-on pot under the state legal limit of one ounce. However, in Colorado, whose pot laws give property owners more authority to restrict the drug, some airports have banned marijuana possession and enacted penalties, including fines as high as $2,500 and a jail sting at the airport in Colorado Springs, which is home to both Army and Air Force bases.

An airport spokeswoman said the airport hasn't fined anyone and no one has used a drop box where travelers can toss excess weed.

The TSA makes travelers empty their water bottles but when they find personal amounts of marijuana, they don't usually call the DEA or FBI. Any pot cases typically get handed over to local police, who have little recourse in Colorado and Washington. At Sea-Tac, they only arrest or investigate further if the passenger is combative or belligerent, or carrying vast amounts of cash. 

The Port of Denver banned pot at Denver International, with fines up to $999. No one's been fined yet.

However, while it's not illegal to board a plane in Colorado or Washington with under an ounce of weed, possession becomes illegal when the plane touches down in any of the other 48 states.