What You Should Know About Travel & Drug Possession

Let’s examine why you should be very careful if you’re going to travel with drugs in your possession.

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UNSPLASH Andrew Neel

Now is a time when people are not traveling as much. That is mostly because of Covid-19. With the pandemic still claiming many lives, some individuals don’t feel like it’s worth it to fly across the country to visit relatives.

Still, some people are flying or driving, and if you do, maybe you’re tempted to take some illegal substances with you. Perhaps it is something relatively innocuous, like a joint or a marijuana edible. After all, you might reason, these things are legal now recreationally in some states, so what’s the harm?

Let’s examine why you should be very careful if you’re going to travel with drugs in your possession.

Legality Varies from State to State

Drug possession is something that every state handles differently. For instance, in California, bail for drug-related charges can range from $35 to $1,000, depending on what you have on you and how much of it.

Recreational weed is legal in California, as it is in:

  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts

It seems as though every year, more states join this list. Perhaps it’s inevitable that weed will be legal in every state, but some regions are dragging their feet in this regard.

Still, if you’re going to take weed or edibles with you when you’re traveling, it’s generally not a smart thing to do. You should think twice before sticking a joint in your pocket if you’re about to fly across the country.

Some Drugs Are Illegal Everywhere

You also need to understand that some drugs are illegal in the US, regardless of what state you visit. The DEA, FDA, etc. call these Schedule One narcotics. They include:

  • Crack
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • MDMA

There are plenty more on the banned list, including hash, opium, acid, and psychedelic mushrooms. While some cultures use certain drugs for ritual or healing purposes, the US government takes a harsher stance on people using them.

If you’re going to purchase and use some of these drugs, that’s your prerogative. It is illegal, though, and you should understand that wherever you buy or consume them.

Traveling with them anywhere within the United States is quite dangerous. If the authorities caught you, you’re subject to arrest, and then you’ll have to figure out the bail process wherever the police, TSA, etc. detained you.

It’s Even Worse Traveling Overseas with Drugs

There are currently travel restrictions in place because of Covid-19. Some countries will not allow US citizens in because of our seeming inability to control the pandemic’s spread.

You can still travel to some countries, though, although you might have to quarantine for some time before you can move about freely. You should certainly avoid bringing drugs with you.

If you bring drugs to another country, you might face even harsher penalties than you would in the US. Maybe you forgot that you had a gram of weed in your backpack or something along those lines, but some countries will throw the book at you even for that.

In Malaysia, you can face death for some drug sale charges. If they arrest you with more than 1.3 pounds of heroin in Vietnam, they will execute you. In China, the authorities catching you with drugs means spending time in a state-run rehab facility.

Don’t be careless and forget you’re carrying drugs if you head to another country, or bring them intentionally. It’s just not worth it.

Drug Tourism

Some people like to go to other countries specifically so they can do drugs. For years, Americans would go to Amsterdam for their lax weed and hashish laws.

Drug tourism is also dangerous. Just because a country is okay with its citizens doing a particular drug does not necessarily mean that they approve of foreigners doing it. If you’re thinking about doing something like this, you should do some extensive research beforehand.

Learn about local laws, and perhaps use some chatrooms or message boards to get an idea of what to expect from individuals who have done this.

Some people want to go to other countries to use drugs for healing purposes rather than recreation. For instance, some individuals will go to a country wishing to use ayahuasca for spiritual cleansing. Even though you might think that’s a legitimate purpose, the local authorities might not feel the same, so consider the possible ramifications before making the trip.

Drug use is a personal choice. If you’re going to combine drugs and travel, though, know the various consequences before you do.

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