Contact: Twitter @freedomisgreen or [email protected]" The registered medical marijuana patient from Maine was handcuffed, searched and held in a cell at Newark Liberty Airport for several hours under threat of arrest last week after the TSA detected a few grams of cannabis in her checked luggage.
The rare and disturbing incident highlights the growing clash among a patchwork of states’ medical cannabis laws and enduring federal prohibition.
At the time, PAPD officers seemed to think this might help her avoid arrest.
In hindsight, Feiner realized how carefully she had had to navigate the encounter with PAPD. There’s really a line, and if you go over it, they are definitely going to be mean,” said Feiner, “But if you don’t insist on your rights, they will use everything against you.” The TSA travel ban on medical marijuana is a massive hardship for the millions of registered patients.
And lack of recognition between the quickly expanding state programs is a cold insult to basic civil rights.
United Airlines ticketing agents and a customer service supervisor quickly got her booked on a red-eye to Portland that left just after midnight, free of charge.
Back in Maine and sitting in sandals by a pristine lake a few days later, Feiner laughed off most of the encounter. Wondering aloud, she hoped there wouldn’t be any future problems with TSA, especially during some upcoming international flights.
"Chris Goldstein is a cannabis consumer advocate and writer.
He formerly served on the Board of Directors at several NORML chapters, helped with Philadelphia decriminalization and now teaches the "Marijuana in the News" class at Temple University.
Joseph Pentangelo, the PAPD spokesman and a former beat cop, said PAPD officers issue a court summons instead of handcuffs for small amounts of cannabis on the New York side, per local laws.* But New Jersey’s criminal prohibition for any amount of marijuana remains firmly in place and PAPD officers act accordingly by performing a custodial arrest.
Feiner was shown to a small cell, searched again and her bra was confiscated. “It was the worst indignity,” said Feiner, who has worn glasses since first grade.
Feiner wasn’t aware of that because her state does have a form of reciprocity for visiting patients.
Moreover, voters in Maine fully legalized marijuana for adults in a 2016 ballot initiative. “The absurdity of this was more than my brain could handle. “They took me into the boarding tunnel and had me face the wall with my hands up.
The Port Authority Police Department covers some of the most high-volume bus terminals, airports, train stations, tunnels, and bridges in the world.