Sam Katz, the documentary filmmaker and three-time mayoral candidate, was found to be carrying marijuana Thursday morning at Philadelphia International Airport while preparing to depart for a weekend fishing trip in Florida.
Authorities found a small amount of the drug before Katz boarded his flight, Philadelphia police spokesman Jeff Chrusch said. Because marijuana was decriminalized in the city two years ago - which pot activists were celebrating Thursday on the Ben Franklin Parkway - Katz was given a citation and allowed to leave, Chrusch said.
Katz, 66, said Thursday afternoon that he had not smoked marijuana in years, but thought a fishing trip with a friend on the west coast of Florida was a suitable environment to try again. He put a small amount in his suitcase, he said, which Transportation Security Administration officers found as he tried to get through security.
The pot was seized, and he was given a $25 ticket, Katz said. Had he been caught with it in Florida, he could have faced up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine under that state's laws.
Katz missed his flight and had to make alternate travel arrangements. He also was not terribly excited to explain the incident to his family.
"This will not go down as one of the smart moves I've made," said Katz, who ran for mayor in 1991, 1999, and 2003.
He now runs History Making Productions, which has produced regionally focused documentaries including Philadelphia: The Great Experiment and Philadelphia Welcomes Pope Francis, which chronicles the pontiff's visit to the city last year.
Chrusch said that it was unclear how much marijuana Katz was carrying, but that the citation indicated it was less than 30 grams.
Katz said the amount was small enough that it probably would not have lasted through the weekend. Now, he said, he will just have to fish with a different substance of choice.
"I am going to smoke," he said. "It's just going to be cigars."