The law gets messy, especially when regional politicians disagree. If you plan to travel, visit, or move, you need to know the new rules before you go out the door. Ignorance won’t protect you, but a little research will. Read more and now the importance of knowing drug laws for your next destination.
Legal Here, Illegal There
Even if recreational or medical controlled substances are legal where you live, that doesn’t mean the neighboring state or your dream vacation destination has the same rules. Various countries, states, and cities have contradictory laws about everything from alcohol to marijuana and prescription medications. Just because you have a prescription or freely use a drug at home doesn’t mean it’s legal everywhere.
Visiting or moving: Still a problem
As a tourist, it’s easy to blow off little laws that don’t coincide with the home. Sometimes that same attitude sticks around with a permanent move. If something was legal in one state, why should you give it up? Morally, you’re comfortable, and following a law you disagree with morally is a huge challenge, especially when it interferes with your regular habits. However, you need to remember: whether you’re just visiting a friend for the day, taking a week long vacation, or making a long-term move, you’re under the jurisdiction of the local police, no matter what freedoms you enjoy in other states.
The Rules Are More Complicated than You Think
If you have a controlled substance that you know other states ban that you use as a medication, check ahead. Which states, countries, and counties respect prescriptions from other states? Even if you visit an area that accepts medical marijuana, you may need a prescription from a doctor practicing in that state in order to legally use it there. Assuming you’re okay just because you have a prescription and paperwork affirming your right to use your medication at home doesn’t mean you won’t face jail time for using it on the other side of the country.
While you’re checking, look at drug weight and volume limits. Certain amounts of illegal substances classify as a misdemeanor and others qualify as a felony. If you choose to take a risk with your doctor’s note and prescription card, be sure you don’t end up facing federal charges. If you’re tempted to try it, research the penalties you could face if you get caught. That might change your mind. If it doesn’t, you may have bigger problems, and you may want to learn more about rehab and treatment facilities.
It’s still in your system
When you travel, even if you leave any less-than-legal drugs at home, your most recent dose is probably still in your body. Traces of marijuana can last days, even weeks. If you plan to go anywhere, such substances aren’t welcome, make sure to stop taking them a while before you leave. Even if you haven’t used in a few days, police can claim you’re driving under the influence if they detect it.
A routine traffic stop may become a legal nightmare. Sometimes following the rules at home just isn’t enough. That’s why it’s so important to do your research before you travel. Standards shift, and so do laws.