Cannabis use for both medical and recreational purposes is slowly being legalized in many places. Yet there are still many countries where the plant remains very illegal. When you visit these regions you do not want to be caught with weed.
The penalties for trafficking or even just possessing weed in some regions can be brutal. Those who don’t respect the local laws can expect to face deportation, imprisonment, floggings and even death. The following are the 10 worst places in the world to be caught with weed.
Japanese Cities like Tokyo offer tourists a range of vices including sex, alcohol and a wild underground music scene. Weed, however, is quite difficult to find. Drug use of any kind if considered taboo and very looked down upon by Japanese people. If caught with weed by locals, they are likely to report you to police immediately.
Cannabis has been illegal there since 1948 with use and possession punishable by up to five years imprisonment with hard labor, as well as a fine. The cultivation, sale and transport of the drug is punishable by up to 7 to 10 years imprisonment with hard labor and a fine.
If arrested in Japan, even for a minor offense, you may be held in detention without bail for a few months or more during the investigation and legal proceedings. Foreigners caught with weed are unlikely to be imprisoned after the legal process. But they can expect deportation from the country while being forbidden to ever again visit Japan.
Some States in the United States of America
Cannabis use for recreational purposes is now legal in some American states including Alaska, California, Colorado, Oregon, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Washington. However lighting up in a state which still retains strong laws could get you into a massive amount of trouble.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union website, cannabis arrests now account for over half of all drug arrests in the United States. Of the 8.2 million marijuana related arrests between the years of 2001 and 2010, 88% were for simply being in possession of marijuana.
Nationwide, the arrest data for those caught with weed revealed a consistent trend – that is significant racial bias. Despite roughly equal use rates of cannabis, African America people are 3.73 times more likely than white people to be arrested for cannabis related crimes.
Don’t get caught with weed in Alabama!
In Alabama in 2011, for instance, a 75-year-old disabled veteran suffering from chronic pain was arrested for growing three dozen marijuana plants for his own medical use. He was given a life sentence with no possibility of release. Alabama law mandates that anyone with certain prior felony convictions be sentenced to life without parole for possession of more than 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of cannabis, regardless of their intent to sell.
The state of South Dakota has some of America’s harshest marijuana laws with possession of even a small amount carrying a potential penalty of one year in jail and a $2000 fine. Also, if a person is found to be in possession of any amount of hash or concentrate, it’s considered a felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
If a person tests positive for cannabis use, even if it was consumed in a state where its legal, they can also be subjected to this penalty.
(Image: Shanghai city in China)
Cannabis in China has been used historically for centuries. It’s been used for fiber, ritual purposes within Taoism, and a 2,500 year old stash of cannabis was unearthed just last year from a ancient tomb in northwest China. This provided evidence that ancient Chinese people used marijuana for spiritual purposes.
Despite this history, cannabis has been illegal in China since 1985. Many people in China still associate cannabis with the drug opium, which caused serious social and economic disruption in China during the opium wars with Britain and other Western countries. China has some of the tightest drug laws in the world and regularly executes people for drug trafficking by either lethal injection or firing squad.
Penalties for cannabis offenses are vague, but cannabis is considered a narcotic under Section Seven of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China. Individuals who smuggle, traffic, transport or manufacture drugs are usually sentenced to confiscation of property on top of a possible 15 years of prison, life imprisonment, or death.
Jaycee Chan arrest
Chan was released from a Beijing jail after serving a six month sentence. He was also made to give a public apology.
The Syria civil war is an ongoing armed conflict being fought primarily between the government of President Bashar al-Assad and its allies against the various forces opposing the government. Before the war, cannabis was tolerated to a certain extent by police if smokers were discrete.
Cannabis in Syria is now strictly forbidden under the harsh polices of the government of Bashar a-Assad. Many cannabis offences, from possession to trafficking, can reportedly carry a life time imprisonment.
The country is disestablished and people living in areas controlled by Kurdish separatists have been growing cannabis to make money as a means of escaping the poverty that the war torn country is experiencing.
ISIS members have reportedly also resorted to growing cannabis and opiates to increase their funding. So purchase of the drug in the country could directly fund the terrorist organization.
(Image: Manila city in The Philippines)
The cultivation and use of cannabis has been illegal in the Philippines since 1972. Weed is the second most used drug in the Philippines after shabu, which is slang for methamphetamine. Marijuana use has been a open secret in the Philippines despite harsh penalties for possession of just a few grams. This includes fines of up to 400,000 Philippine pesos ($8000 US dollars), decade long prison sentences and, until it was abolished in 2006, the death penalty.
The June 30th 2016 inauguration of President Rodrigo Duterte made life very dangerous for all drug users, including cannabis smokers. Duterte called for a “War on drugs” and Philippine National Police officers and unidentified vigilantes have killed over 7000 people suspected of dealing or using drugs.
Marijuana is not their biggest problem
Marijuana remains a secondary concern for the these operations. That’s because shabu is the most abused drug in the country. But that has not stopped some vigilantes from differentiating between the two drugs, which has resulted in the deaths of many cannabis users. Interestingly, Duterte has recently reported his support for medical marijuana.
Before the crackdown, it was common to watch a whiff of cannabis smoke in the streets. Or even observe groups of friends discreetly passing around a joint. Those times are now over, as people have to be more cautious or risk being targeted and killed for the crime of enjoying a joint.
Cannabis was widely used among the native populations of South-East Asia including Malaysia for centuries. It also was traditionally used to treat asthma by indigenous natives in rural Malaysia.
Possession of cannabis in Malaysia today, however, can lead to a five-year prison term. It also carries a fine of up to 20,000 ringgit (about $6,500) if found with over 50 grams. Plus, you could also receive a lashing of at least ten strikes. Planting a single cannabis seed can get you hit with life in prison plus at least lashes. If caught with weed weighing in at 200 grams or more, a mandatory death penalty by hanging will be applied for trafficking.
Recently a federal contractor was sentenced to death by hanging in the country for allegedly trafficking several dozens of pounds of cannabis.
Cannabis still in use
Malaysian society is obviously not very friendly towards cannabis use. But, despite the risk, it is still enjoyed by small groups of the population. Cannabis is in high demand by tourists and there are many street dealers frequenting the urban areas and hostels where foreigners can be found.
Malaysian law enforcement is also considered to be quite corrupt. With that said, many offices take undercover jobs on the street to bust tourists for either arrest or to receive a bribe.
Singapore is a stunning, visual, modern metropolis. It also consistently ranks as one of the best and safest cities in the world to live it. Additionally, Singapore is hugely respected for its state of the art health and educational systems. The reason Singapore is considered so safe and crime free is likely because they don’t fuck around with law enforcement. More to the point, the country uses medieval style punishments.
Cannabis was banned in Singapore in 1870 during the British colonial period. If a person is caught with weed today, they can expect to receive a long term imprisonment. Not only that, but a possible fine of $20,000 Singapore dollars and a caning.
Last year, two men were convicted of drug trafficking 2604.56 grams of cannabis. They were hung for the crime. Under the Singapore Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA), if the amount of cannabis trafficked is 500 grams or more, the death plenty must be granted.
Singapore police will always assume that you are selling drugs even if you are caught with a relatively small amount. If found guilty of selling or trafficking drugs you will be sentenced to death, usually by hanging.
Last year, two men were convicted drug trafficking 2604.56 grams of cannabis. Under the Singapore Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) the death penalty is granted if the amount of cannabis trafficked is 500 grams or more.
Indonesia is infamous for its harsh drug laws. This is despite the fact that cannabis is the most widely used illicit substance in the country. Under the current narcotics law, cannabis is included along with the most restrictive Schedule 1 list. It includes substances such as crystal meth, heroin and shabu. Getting caught with a single joint in the country will likely land you with a 4-year prison sentence.
In 2004, Australian Schapelle Corby was caught with over four kilograms of weed stuffed in her bodyboard bag. She served nine years in Bali’s Kerobokan Prison. Then she served three years on parole before being allowed to return to Australia earlier this year. Corby was considered lucky in her sentencing. Many others have been executed for similar crimes.
It’s is also very dangerous to smoke in public in Indonesia. People will report you to police in exchange for a payment. Also, police will expect large bribes from tourists to avoid arrest.
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a “three strikes you’re out policy” for possession of cannabis. The first time caught with weed, you will go to jail for seven months. The second time, jail for 7 years, and the third strike equals death.
In early 2017, a man was unfortunately caught with weed. He was convicted of possession of 59 kilograms of cannabis and sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1200 lashes. The criminal court also fined the presumed trafficker 100,000 riyals (about $25,000). Then, they banned him from traveling abroad again for 10 years in addition to serving his term.
The man could consider himself fortunate, because in Saudi Arabia, even alcohol is illegal and the sale of cannabis or hash will almost always result in the death penalty. Exceptions are rarely made. Most official executions are carried out medieval style by beheading with a sword.
(Image: Dubai in United Arab Emirates)
United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates is a country with a federation of seven emirates including Abu Dhabi, (the capital) Dubai, Ajman, Fujarirah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm a Quwain. You do not want to be caught with cannabis in any of the federations in United Arab Emirates. They all have extreme drug laws.
If you are caught with weed, even the tiniest trace, you’ll get a minimum mandatory sentence of four years. If found with traces of the drug in your blood or urine, this can be considered as possession. Those found guilty of cultivating, distribution or smuggling face life term imprisonment. Additionally they risk the possibility of death by firing squad.
Arrest of British man
In 2008, a British man was arrested in Dubai for having a tiny speck of cannabis weighing just 0.003 grams was discovered on the thread of one of his shoes. It is likely the poor guy just happened to step on someone else used blunt somewhere in his travels. He was initially sentenced to a four year prison sentence but was later pardoned after serving a flew months.
So there you have it the top 10 worst places to be caught with weed. You should also know what happens when you eat weed so, it might just be safer to stay home if you plan on toking.