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Forty-nine year old Gregory Murphy of Toms River, New Jersey was just chilling in Newark International last Friday, hanging around Gate 85 and waiting to board a 5:00pm flight. Then someone called out his name over the loudspeaker, and that someone soon turned out to be a member of the local Port Authority police. The police wanted to know whether the pot that airport security had found in his checked luggage was indeed his.
The answer to that question was yes, and so Mr. Murphy is going to be involved in several legal proceedings in the near future. It won't be that bad - he didn't have more than 50 grams on him - but he'll have spend some time in a court room. Normally a drugs-at-the-airport story would end here.
What makes this story particularly entertaining is that he had wrapped the drug in candy wrappers labeled "Mary Jane." Come on. That's not even trying.
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We had a buddy in college who was the epitome of the super-smart stoner. He would study the chemical composition of THC to invent new ways of baking pot, he would construct complex gravity bongs out of random household items, and his entire year revolved around Shark Week. Do you have an image in your mind of the Hollywood movie stoner who comes up with the insight that moves the plot along? That's who this guy was.
One of our buddy's routine tricks when traveling was to use sheets of fabric softener to mask the smell of the copious amounts of weed that he smoked. There are several versions of this trick, but they all involve the same basic move of getting the smoke to go through the sheets (some of the more elaborate mechanisms would require diagrams to explain). After 9/11 he started running into problems because security officers would rightly ask why he was carrying fabric softener sheets in his luggage. That's not a product that people usually take with them on weekend trips to the Midwest.
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Let's go back to this incident from 2011. Rapper Freddie "Gangsta" Gibbs, in a move that we described as evidence of "mind-bending idiocy," got caught by TSA transporting weed in his checked luggage. The size of the baggies made it obvious that he was transporting the drug for recreational purposes - you may not have heard, but rappers are rumored to smoke pot occasionally - and the TSA agent left him an exasperated, pitch-perfect note reading "C'MON SON."
Since then, of course, several states have liberalized their marijuana laws. The federal government, in sharp contrast, has not. This sets up a nice little legal problem: if you're flying within a state where you're allowed to carry weed, or between two states where you're allowed to carry weed, are you allowed to transport your marijuana? Remember that airports are subject to federal jurisdiction, which is why this issue is even a question.
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There’s a new way to relax after a long day on the ski slopes, and we’re not talking about downing a hot toddy by the lodge fireplace. The town of Breckenridge, Colorado recently voted to legalize marijuana within the ski town. For those that spend more time rolling down the mountain rather than remaining on two feet—this is excellent news.
The town voted overwhelmingly to allow snowboarders, skiers, and all others over 21 years old to have up to an ounce of ghanja. However, there is a slight catch, so hold off on heading to your friendly neighborhood head shop. In case you aren’t too familiar with state law, marijuana is still technically illegal in Colorado. So the measure that was approved was more of a local opinion than anything else.
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Thanks to the TSA, travelers have all kinds of hoops to jump through when it’s finally time to catch your flight. Everyone knows there’s some math formula with the number three and something about one ounce when it comes to the rules regarding liquids and plastic baggies. Well if you have something else that weighs an ounce and comes in a plastic bag you won’t have to do much to get through security. Medical marijuana patients can now pass through the San Francisco International Airport and other Bay Area airports without any issues, or so they say.
As long as you have the proper paperwork you can carry up to eight ounces of marijuana with you. That’s the city’s policy, and it’s up to city police to make the final ruling. The TSA kind of has no authority over the issue, but if we had some healing hooch we’d still probably be a little discrete when going through airport security. The US Department of Justice pretty much told US attorneys to not bother passengers when they are just following the state’s rules and regulations.
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Drugs and airplanes hanging out together is nothing new, after all we’ve seen a lot of smuggling rings busted over the last year. Just recently officials caught up with a group that thought cocaine should get a first class seat aboard American Airlines. Well US Customs and Border Protection made another discovery, but this time the drug was a little more uplifting than the usual white powder or wacky tobacky.
Last week officials at the Miami International Airport seized over 20,000 counterfeit Viagra pills. That’s like fifty pounds of bootleg medication. It was a shipment from India that looked a little sketchy, and once they cracked it open they knew the pills were not on their way to your local Walgreens.
They say it never snows in Puerto Rico, but there was a whole bunch of white powder hitting the fan when some crew were arrested over the weekend after their cocaine smuggling operation of over a decade was found out.
According to the AP, the workers, a "mix of baggage handlers and other members of the ground crew, were part of a ring suspected of sending at least 9,000 kilograms (19,840 pounds) of cocaine over the past decade to destinations that include Miami and Orlando, Florida, and New Jersey. Of course this just throws the spotlight onto Puerto Rico as a major stepping stone to the US for drug traffickers, what with the lack of customs since Puerto Rico is already American soil.
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You won't see it offered with in-flight meal service, but that doesn't mean your flight crew hasn't got a stash of it in the back; it's cocaine, and $20 million dollars worth of the nose candy has apparently been ferried into and out of Puerto Rico by American Airlines staff since 1999. The drug traffickers were recently arrested in a sting, with most cuffed in Puerto Rico where they would load up the suitcases stuffed with illicit substances.
While crossing international borders may be as easy as going to the drug store for flight crews, this one seems to have made it a drug store business. Along with the arrests, the police seized some $18 million dollars worth of property owned by the men, so they weren't exactly playing it cool. Still, it did take the DEA some ten years to catch them; we would have thought they'd have quit by now to live in the lap of ill-gotten luxury, but greed for more had properly caused them to hold onto their menial American Airlines jobs so long.
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Last September, DJ AM and former Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker barely escaped with their lives when the Learjet in which they were traveling crashed while taking off from the Columbia, South Carolina airport. Four others in the airplane were killed. Sadly, DJ AM (real name Adam Goldstein) won't be around to mark the one-year anniversary of his miraculous survival, as the 36-year-old celebrity disk jockey was found dead in a Manhattan apartment Friday night. According to an AP story, officials suspect a drug overdose killed Goldstein, though no determination has yet been made.
Free weekends at the country’s national parks may be over for the summer season, but there’s still plenty of excitement to be found—especially at Yosemite National Park. There is a lot of new plant life to discover, especially if you are looking to find some of the illegal variety. However, you better hurry up!
Last week, park rangers destroyed almost 5,000 marijuana plants within the park, and these little green buds had a value of nearly $19 million. Not only are the plants obviously illegal, but the growers are leaving all kinds of crap in the parks as well. Rangers got rid of 400 pounds of fertilizer, 3,000 feet of irrigation hose, and 200 pounds of trash. We’re just glad the rangers got to it before Yogi and friends did.
We like to cover a lot of television travel here and with the exception of Lost, all of the episodes we watch have been fascinating, entertaining, amazing and exciting with maybe a few gross-out moments here and there. (Bizarre Foods, anyone?) But most importantly, these shows usually have us saying at the end of the episode, "I want to go there."
Then there's the National Geographic Channel's Locked Up Abroad, a show about travelers who were either kidnapped or sent to prisons while traveling abroad. Watching this is like watching "Scared Straight", the documentary about prisons that high school teachers show their students to deter them from criminal behavior. "Locked Up Abroad" has left us with severe paranoia about getting thrown into a jail in a country where we don't speak the language.
If you have any travel lust coursing through your veins right now, this show will shut it down immediately.
Real thrill-seekers will love Jaunted cousin Concierge.com's list of Mind-Altering Vacations. From absinthe in Paris to peyote in Mexico, their suggestions will certainly help you get your mind off your jumpy 401(k) and the security of your job. But if you want to run for President someday -- or if you're Lindsay Lohan -- check out our slightly more licit thrills. Voyages for the killjoy, right here: