A reader writes:
I just read your new update to the cannabis closet about getting caught and I thought I'd share my experience. Towards the end of my senior year of High School I was arrested with a friend for possession of about a gram of weed. I found out quickly that it didn't matter who I was or what the circumstances were, smoking weed makes you a criminal. I had to pay some five hundred dollars and take a program that included eight weeks of drug testing and a class about substance abuse in order to avoid the conviction. The final, and most ridiculous requirement, was a tour of the New Hampshire State Prison.
I suppose this was meant to scare me straight, to prevent smoking weed from leading me to commit more serious crimes. I remember the first thing my case manager asked me was what exactly I was doing with my life, making the assumption that I was some kind of delinquent. Of course I had already been accepted to college and I was working a part time job. High School was nearly over and I would be graduating in high standing. I found all of this to be somewhat humiliating since I really didn't believe that a crime had been committed.
I write this just three years after that incident and I still smoke marijuana regularly. Not surprisingly, it hasn't led me towards harder drugs or to a life of apathy. This is my third year at Northeastern University where I study Political Science and International Affairs. I've been on the deans list every semester. Last year I completed an internship and I plan on studying in Europe in the fall. Thankfully we have decriminalization in Massachusetts now, so I worry less about getting caught. However I wonder what the system in New Hampshire accomplished. Had I been convicted I would have lost my financial aid and not been able to attend school in Boston. In the end the legal system could have done more to ruin my future than the actual drug.