A local activist has taken the airport police of the Fairbanks International Airport to court to get his 8 grams of weed back after it was confiscated by a federal transportation security officer in July 2016. On Monday, after the judge ordered to give the marijuana back, Frank Berardi picked it up from the police department at the airport.
The lawyer of the man said that the law enforcement agency should not have held marijuana as it was the lawfully owned property of Mr. Berardi. The chief of the airport police states that they did not intend to take his weed, but Berardi refused from securing it—put it in his vehicle or ask somebody to fetch it—before boarding. The police of Fairbanks Airport do not seize the property of the passengers as they have no power to do so. In the case of Mr. Berardi, it was his own request for them to take the pot away. The chief of airport police, Sean Martines, said that since weed was a legal substance, Berardi was given several options of how to deal with the situation. The incident happened when Berardi was traveling to Anchorage on July 27.
The man himself said that as an active member of the marijuana legalization campaign, he likes to travel by air with cannabis in his checked luggage. He also says that weed makes a trip significantly better and more memorable. The spokesman for the TSA stated that the agency had the right to confiscate weed and turn it over to the local police. TSA officers also have the rights to screen the luggage of passengers for items that can violate the federal law. Security violations are the aim, not marijuana. The Fairbanks Airport has a list of rules for those passengers who carry weed. Angie Spear, the assistant manager of the airport, said that passengers could leave marijuana with their friend or just put it in their vehicle.
The same policy is applied to other federally forbidden items that can be used as a weapon, like knives and ammunition. If police gave the marijuana back without a court order, it would be, first of all, the illegal action of trafficking drugs, and secondly, it would be the violation of federal law.