[Canniseur: There’s lots of good advice and ideas to ponder in this article. If you’re going to hit the road with a little stash, read this first.]
Better safe than sorry, dear reader!
In the latest Adam Sandler Netflix special “100% Fresh,” there is a catchy little ditty, some call it a rap, in which he breaks down the only three things he needs before leaving his house: “Phone, Wallet, Keys.” The song progresses into some less than ordinary situations, in which the Sandman requires not only requires his phone, wallet, keys, but also a fourth thing: his passport, then his laptop, Tic Tacs and his backpack.
You get the gist of it. There is not a single person on the planet who can’t relate to mulling over in their head this checklist of necessities before going public.
But if you are a part of the cannabis community, which seems to be the majority of the population these days, there’s just one more prized possession that must be added to the pile of pocket clutter before joining the outside world. We need our phone, wallet, keys and weed! That’s right, can’t leave the house without the old equalizer. After all, it’s the one thing that keeps some of us balanced and, in many cases, even prevents a full-blown flip-out when we’re forced to mingle with dregs of society.
First, Consider the Cons
Hitting the road with a stash is not always as easy as tossing a canister of mints in your pocket. Sure, marijuana is now legal for recreational use in 10 states and the District of Columbia, but for the rest of the nation, traveling with pot is still considered risky business.
Unfortunately, hundreds of people are still getting busted every day just because some bored cop discovered a small stash of weed in the vicinity of their phone, wallet, keys. Some of these encounters result in only a small fine — not the end of the world, yet still a pain in the *ss — while others can land otherwise law-abiding citizens inside a jail cell. And if you’ve never been to jail, please take our word for it: It is not somewhere most humans belong, even for a night. Ever get into a fist fight over a smelly blanket? Just spend a couple of days in county, you’ll get your chance.
Unless you live in a legal state, leaving the house with weed should be done in a manner that makes it difficult for cops to find it if they pull you over and decide to conduct a search. This is not rocket science, kids. The reason most folks end up getting popped on a possession charge is mostly due to their unwillingness to recognize that stereotypes do exist, and there are indeed cops out there that will dig a little deeper to find wrongdoing if you are the wrong color.
But more importantly, these people fail to understand that appearance is everything. Sometimes avoiding an unwanted run-in with the law is as easy as just taking a few simple precautions to avoid arousing suspicion. Yes, it is true, I have been locked up — several times — but never, not once, for marijuana possession.
It’s not because of the police’s lack of trying, let me tell you. Throughout the years, I’ve had my vehicles given the equivalent of a full physical, complete with a five-finger prostate exam, by cops hoping to bust me for weed. But they’ve never had any other choice than to let me go. It’s not that I’m such a smuggling pro, I just understand the basics.
Clean Car, Smart Car
During a traffic stop, the first thing a police officer does when he or she approaches a vehicle is look inside. Before so much as uttering the words, “License and registration, please,” rest assured a cop has already noticed if your car is clean or in complete shambles.
If the latter is true, this only gives them more of a reason to look closer. If you have marijuana, that’s something that you do not want to happen. So, always make sure your car is clean. Fast food bags or junk food wrappers on the floorboards, clothing flung all over the backseat or complete interior chaos have all been known to get cops sniffing around where they aren’t wanted. In fact, years ago, my vehicle was searched because an Indiana state trooper thought a McDonald’s french fry that had fallen in the cracks of the passenger seat was a joint. Did he actually believe this deep-fried potato was pot? Who knows. But he did use it to establish probable cause. Of course, he didn’t find anything. But the point is he went looking.
Don’t Toke and Drive
It is also a good idea when traveling with weed not to partake while driving. If you end up getting pulled over, you can almost guarantee the lingering odor of grass is going to prompt a search. And even if no herb is discovered, the next step could be to summon a roadside drug test and try to make a drugged driving (DUID) arrest.
Some states have a zero-tolerance policy on driving with pot in your system, so while the police might not be able to bust you on a possession charge, they can still use DUID as a reason to lock you up. Of course, you’ll lose your license for a while and probably even be required to attend weekly (sometimes daily) drug abuse classes. Try telling your boss that you have to leave early every day for the next year to see a drug counselor.
Life with a DUID will get harder than it needs to be. It’s just more hassle than it’s worth. Save the cannabis consumption for your final destination and don’t forget to hide the paraphernalia as well.
Look, stepping out into the world with your phone, wallet keys and weed is something that most cannabis consumers do every day without ever encountering any problems.
But until the herb is legal all across the nation, it’s going to take some common sense to ensure you get to where you are going without taking a detour to jail. Just follow the traffic laws and never take along enough weed to get you into any real trouble. And pro tip: Go ahead and rip those Bob Marley stickers off your back window right now. Those d*mn things just scream, “Hey officer, I’ve got weed in the car, come get me!”
We just want to help you avoid any situation where you might need your phone, wallet, keys and bail.