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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.