The current laws regarding the use and possession of medical marijuana vary — a lot — depending on where you happen to be in this country at any given moment. In some states, there are narrow laws that allow only a few people access to the drug for specific medical conditions, while other states have more liberal policies. Some states have legalized marijuana for adult use altogether.

Alabama still hasn’t legalized marijuana for any kind of use — medicinal or otherwise. Given the patchwork approach of laws on the issue of medical marijuana, it’s hardly surprising that strangers to the state might not realize the danger they’re in just by possessing a tiny amount of the drug.

For example, an Arizona veteran was recently sentenced to five years in prison for possessing a small amount of medical marijuana while he was passing through Pickens Country, Alabama. He’d purchased the drug legally in his own state. Officers initially approached the man and his wife at a gas station because they were playing their music “too loudly.” Somehow this led to a search of the couple’s vehicle, where the police discovered the cannabis.

If you’re passing through Alabama from a state with less stringent marijuana laws, it’s important to be aware that police officers may justify a search of your vehicle for nearly any infraction — and that can land you in jail for a long time. If you do end up being charged with a crime related to the possession of marijuana in Alabama, speak to a defense attorney before you speak to the police.