Apr 102012
 

earth marijuanaAre The Marijuana Laws Harsh Where You Live?

By Sean Z

This is the nightmare situation. You’re taking a holiday in a country you’ve never visited before. In a bar, you get chatting to a few locals, and one of them candidly offers you some weed. Stoked at the opportunity to get high in a foreign country, you nod enthusiastically, find a safe spot and light up. As you make your way through the joint, enshrouded in a haze of giggles and contentment, you hear an iron voice from behind you, “Police! You’re coming with us.” You’re bombarded with stern voices speaking in foreign tongues about the threat of some extensive jail time, all for a little bit of marijuana.

We may bemoan the lumbering progress of the compelling and irrefutable argument for cannabis legalization in our own country, but we’re really pretty lucky. Some countries across the world have implausibly draconian laws, with places like Saudi Arabia and Malaysia executing people for trafficking in large amounts. Most of us aren’t interested in importing drugs into countries with monstrous laws, but we might fancy a joint if we’re on holiday somewhere. This article runs through some countries you might want to avoid if you’re off on a marijuana world tour or are looking to move permanently.

Japan
The Japanese public generally sees drug use as an admission of deep seated evil. The public get up in arms over people being caught with marijuana, so you are unlikely to be treated with any sympathy. Under the Cannabis Control Law in Japan, being caught with even a single joint can get you a five year prison sentence with some hard labor thrown in for good measure. They’ll be a little more lenient if it’s your first time, but you’ll still get around a six month sentence. Foreigners aren’t likely to be jailed, but will be deported from the country with no hope of ever going back.

Philippines
In the Philippines, you don’t get much leeway either. The first time you’re caught smoking a joint you can be sent to rehab for at least six months. If you are persistent enough to try again, the next time could land you in jail for between six and twelve years. If you get caught growing weed, you’re looking at anything from life imprisonment to the death penalty. The Philippine Dangerous Drugs Act will make your life a living hell. One man was jailed for 15 years after being caught with two “sticks” (assumedly meaning joints) of marijuana.

Malaysia
Another country you would do well to avoid is Malaysia. Possession of cannabis can land you in jail for up to five years (Section 6), and carries a fine of up to 20,000 ringgit (around $6,500). If you are found with over 50 grams, the sentence is at least five years, plus a possible lashing of at least ten strikes (Section 39a). Planting a cannabis seed can get you life in prison plus at least six lashings (Section 6b). In 2010, a man was jailed for a total of eight years for being found with just less than 58 grams of cannabis. One charge was only based on 12.65 grams (less than a half ounce) and carried a sentence of two years. The worst case scenario, getting caught dealing a lot of cannabis, can lead to the death sentence.

Indonesia
If you’re journeying across Southeast Asia and fancy a stop in Bali, marijuana should definitely be off the menu. Getting caught with a single joint in Indonesia can lead to a jail sentence of up to four years. If you accidently or purposefully import any cannabis, you can be put in prison for between five and 15 years. One famous case involved an Australian named Schapelle Corby, who ended up with 20 years in jail, skipping off on a possible sentence of death by firing squad. This is probably the only time 20 years in an Indonesian jail could be considered “lucky.”

United Arab Emirates
Possibly the most extreme laws come in the United Arab Emirates. Getting caught in Dubai with even the tiniest trace of cannabis can get you a minimum mandatory sentence of four years. In some extreme circumstances, if you’re caught with any in your blood or urine, this can be considered “possession.” It’s worth noting that these absurd laws even extend to things like poppy seeds (the kind you might be covered in if you eat seeded bread on your flight). One man has been jailed for four years because he was found at the airport with a cigarette trodden into his shoe. Inside, the authorities found 0.003 grams of cannabis, and that was enough. Unless he’d come up with a bizarre way to carry his last, tiny joint, it’s safe to assume this wasn’t even his. In the UAE, it clearly doesn’t matter.

Unless you want to end up in some dingy, mortifying prison for an extended sentence, don’t smoke marijuana in these countries. That one joint you’re being offered in a dingy bar can cost you several years of relatively safe smoking time at home. For once, the best advice is to just say no. However, the real tragedy is for the natives: they never even have a chance to enjoy marijuana without taking an extreme risk. The next time you smoke a joint, toast to the people of Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, and hope that one day their absurd marijuana laws are repealed.

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About Johnny Green

Johnny Green is a marijuana activist from Oregon. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Public Policy. Follow Johnny Green on Facebook and Twitter. Also, feel free to email any concerns.
  • eating_sunshine

    Oh the stories I could tell from when I lived in the PI (Philippine Islands).
    I hardly believe my memories of that strange and wonderful time.

    But, you are so correct.  Being caught in the PI with weed, while being a foreigner  and without bribe money could cost you your life.  But I can tell you that many a time as I was walking down the road, I caught the unmistakable smell of ganga. I’ve partied hard in the Go-go bar capital of the PI, Angeles city, and I asked a few bar girls if they could score me some weed, and every one of them said they could.  But I never chanced it.Â

    English is widely spoken in the PI.  The police are very corrupt as a social norm. Its the only Asian country that is Christian. Alcohol is very much the social drug of choice.  And don’t leave home without bribe money. Â

    • Kapre

      East Timor is also Catholic

  • Dark_templer

    It’s sad about Japan cause its America’s fault they have such bad laws, before America bombed Japan they were quite free and cannabis grew in the wild many places across Japan, it was used alot by monks and such.. But after America came in an rewrote Japan’s laws all that changed(another thing we can thank the Americans for its that fuzzy blur of japanese porn, that’s another of the laws America gave to Japan after the war)

    • jono

      no its JAPANS fault that JAPAN has these laws. JAPAN is not ran by the U.S. legislative branch. JAPAN can only follow our suggestions. JAPAN has no obligation to follow our rules or doctrines. Whoever wrote this article it would not surprise me if it was some pot smoking kid going to college on his mama’s money.

      • Dudemcsmokin’

        You’re far more inclined to follow someone’s order’s after they killed 200,000 of your people by pressing a button the LAST time you tried to defy them.

        Just consider that for a second.

        • sanity

          dude, you’re high.
          Sincerely,
          Pearl Harbor, all of Japans neighbors and the entire Western World

    • craigvan

      Japan kept the laws and enforces them because they want to. America, or any other country, doesn’t have control over internal matters like that.
      Hemp is grown in Asia, but smoking it as an intoxicant is a western thing. Only foreigners in China smoke it.

  • http://twitter.com/SeoKungFu Boris Krumov

    So, this basically means human evolution is somewhat stalled, somewhere around the Middle Ages – Witch Hunting is Not Dead, alas !
    Â

  • Nicola Weaver

    Note that Schapelle Corby is innocent. Watch the free film here, to see a human sacrifice which will make you feel sick:
    http://www.expendable.tv

  • Marley King

    Just to clarify the term “stick”… it is also called a foil, and is basically a very small street deal, because it is usually wrapped up in foil, anywhere between the size of a cigarette to a bit bigger, and is also called a stick because the rolled up nature of it makes it stiffer, unlike a bagged deal. Imagine a 3 paper joint made from aluminium foil, and you will get a visual… HTH … :)

    • jono

      really? this is such a shock to find all this out…I never knew! I bet none of the other avid pot smokers on this blog about fucking MARIJUANA could figure out what “stick” meant either!

      • Jono is a Retard

        Clearly posting without reading the article first. The author wrote “One man was jailed for 15 years after being caught with two “sticks” (assumedly meaning joints) of marijuana” and Marley King was just clarifying what sticks were as they are not joints. If you’re going to troll, at least stick to the facts.

  • Toxic-hick

    i ? canada

  • Thinking Clearly

    We got more people in prison than all of em. Beat that!

  • Kapre

    The death penalty has been abolished in the Philippines as of 2006.

  • Ritchie

    What’s the biggest nightmare than getting caught up abroad for cases like intoxication, it’s surely the worst thing that can happen to you in an unknown nation, and if you have no relatives out-there, you are surely on a great trouble.. It’s a must to know the laws, if you are fond of weeds and all.Â

  • USA

    Who would want to go to an Arab country anyway politicin on snoop wit your raggedy ass country

  • Sean

    If this article that I’m attaching is true, North Korea doesn’t have any laws against cannabis. Imagine that, despotic god-awful North Korea being more enlightened then the US Federal government on cannabis. Not that I would want to go to North Korea mind you, I just find it really ironic.

    http://zazenlife.com/2011/12/19/communist-north-korea-has-a-more-liberal-policy-towards-marijuana-than-the-united-states/

  • highlow

    In the Philippines the law is harsh but stoners there are too stoned to follow them. they even have their own Philippine Marijuana Community Forum http://www.HIGHisCOOL.com

  • chingchongweed

    no one gives a shit about your weed addiction in the philippines mister. we dont need that shit. “Philippine Dangerous Drugs Act will make your life a living hell.” your high when you wrote this right ? lol this is a weed website..

  • Mike

    North Korea is one of the smartest countries in the world. Sale, distribution, and consumption of Cannabis is not regulated by the government. It’s not even classified as a drug!

    • stevie

      North Korea is the worst country in the world.. they enslave your family if you do wrong.

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  • Nazreen Abraham (not afraid)

    I live in Malaysia and I plant Marijuana and smoke it too. I am proud of it and not afraid of these laws that we have adopted from our ex-colonizers. Malaysians smokes more weed than we drink alcohol but we dont know why we have such law against cannabis, we just follow what the British told us to do.

    • Arief

      Do you sell? Haven’t had one in a long time.

    • craigvan

      These laws obviously have public and government support. The Japanese laws on cannabis originate from the U.S. post war occupation. But they currently reflect Japan’s attitude about getting stoned. The laws wouldn’t be applied if there wasn’t support for it. Possession of over 1oz in Oregon carries 10 years on paper. But in actuality no one gets a long prison sentence just for pot there, because it’s not considered a very big deal.

    • Vicky

      Im trying to find out what happened to my husband he was supposed to leave yesterday on a military transport but I found out he may have got caught w weed. How do I find out?

  • MK

    Getting caught smoking marijuana is perhaps the least of your worries in the majority of the countries you mention.
    Apart from Japan I have no interest in ever visiting those countries and thank God everyday that I wasn’t born in any of them.

  • Angryphilmofo

    Okay so im from the philippines (manila the capital) I study medicine in college, have a stable job and i smoke a ton of weed, and i can say 1st hand that the law on weed here is pure shit. i hate it so much. people here make such a big deal out of cannabis, when you get caught smoking it, you basically turn into a dilinquent and a danger to society in people’s eyes. and when you get caught by the law, they make such a big fucking fuss out of it. thank goodness they’re corrupt and you can just pay them off (i had bad experiences). marijuana is so evil here, and yet the people here drink alcohol so much they can rival the irish. dafuq with this shit

    • sochill

      dude i completely agree with you. i’m also from the philippines, antipolo city, and i too smoke weed and i really fucking hate how the government created this idealism where marijuana is considered a dangerous drug. they’ve made it based solely on their image of what cannabis is, even people who i know who knows i smoke weed but they don’t, think i’m an addict already even though i can last a more than 5 months without it. though, i am more annoyed by the ignorance of some of our fellowmen about the topic of cannabis. they should do their research first. i would respect you if you don’t smoke weed but please, don’t assume us to be addicts/delinquents just because we do.