Medical marijuana patients protest Denver International Airport pot ban

January 09, 2014

DENVER - Medical marijuana patients and advocates are voicing opposition to new rules at Denver International Airport that would ban marijuana on airport property.

The airport is in the process of finalizing a policy that says people could be fined $150 for the first violation and up to $999 for multiple infractions.

"To deny safe access to medical marijuana at the airport is unnecessary, and I think it's cruel," said Rachel Gillette [Executive Director of Colorado NORML] with NORML, the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws, at a public meeting Wednesday.

Medical marijuana patients said, for them, it's not about flying high, but having access to needed medicine.

"I have fibromyalgia," said patient Teri Robnett [Colorado NORML Board Meeting], who also spoke at the meeting. "I've had it for 26 years. I've tried a lot of different treatments and medical cannabis is by far the most effective treatment."

She pulled cannabis gummy candy, mouth spray and lotion from her purse, saying she carries products with her everywhere. Robnett said she's never had trouble boarding a plane at DIA with cannabis.

"Generally how it works, if you show TSA you have a medical marijuana license, which I do, they generally will let you go through," she said.

No one from law enforcement, TSA or the airport would confirm that's happening, citing that marijuana is banned by the TSA and not allowed on aircraft.

"It's been inconsistent," said DIA spokeswoman Stacey Stegman. "It's probably depending on who was working at any given time and what knowledge they have and a whole host of things."

Stegman says a ban on pot everywhere on airport grounds would help clear up any confusion. There are already signs posted notifying passengers they can't carry, use, grow or transport marijuana even though Stegman said the airport manager still has to give final approval to the policy.

Jason Warf, a patient and legislative director for the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council said DIA's policy could be a costly one.

"I have a need for medication while traveling as do most patients. It's our medication," Warf said. "When you're stopped and your medicine is confiscated and you're subsequently fined, I believe that's going to lead to a lot of legal action against DIA."

Colorado Springs Airport announced Wednesday that it will also ban marijuana at the airport, a rule that takes effect Friday.

Article is from 9 News in Denver.

CBS 4 Denver has a video on the topic.


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