The reality today is that rehabilitation programs have seen an explosion of people dealing with an addicition to more problematic drugs like crack cocaine, cocaine and oxycontin and well beyond traditional alcohol abuse. Trafficking in these drugs now attracts manadatory minimum jail sentences reflecting a serious effort to eliminate this drug trade. Beyond significant effects of long term use of these and harder drugs in particular, there has been reason to be concerned of decompensating effects of other “softer” drugs on vulnerable people who have underlying or active psychological or psychiatric disorders. Political debate continues about “legalizing” or “not criminalizing” certain drugs but should not be taken lightly now or in the future.
However, beyond the current debate, a conviction for simple possession of even “soft” drugs like marijuana can leave a continued legal hangover for many years to come. The reality is that simple posession is not so simple. Want to go to a hockey game in Buffalo, travel with family or friends on school break to Florida, take your grandfather to the autoshow in Detroit and have a conviction with a small fine and a conditional discharge for a small amount of drugs in the past? Few realize that such a person is EXCLUDED from entry to the USA. No questions asked. That person may also not be permitted on a flight that travels over USA airspace on route to a non-USA destination. The price can be high in more ways than one and lead to further legal complications and consequences not imagined, especially by younger citizens.