Although many nations around the world have begun making strides towards the legalization of cannabis, the policy of strict prohibition is still the law of the land in much of Asia. In fact, cannabis is not only prohibited throughout most of the continent, the penalties for possessing or selling cannabis can be incredibly severe.
Most recently, Thailand has announced a plan to legalize medicinal cannabis, which will also apply to tourists once the logistical issues are worked out. Unfortunately for cannabis lovers, the rest of Asia is not so progressive. Below, is a list of popular Asian tourist destinations and the potential penalties for cannabis possession:
- Japan-5 years imprisonment
- China-5 years to life imprisonment
- Singapore-Up to 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine and a public flogging
- S. Korea-Up to 5 years in prison and a $40,000 fine
- Philippines-Life in prison and a $180,000 fine
- India-6 months imprisonment
Bear in mind these are the penalties for simple possession of cannabis inside the listed countries. Being caught bringing it into the country through the airport or with a quantity considered to be “for distribution” can result in much lengthier prison terms, and even the death penalty in some places. There is very little a tourist’s home country can do if one of their citizens is caught in possession.
The bottom line here is that while Asia is a wonderful place to visit and has tremendous cultural appeal, it’s a good idea to leave your cannabis at home.
If you’re caught, it’s highly unlikely that your local consulate or embassy will be able to intervene on your behalf and lower your sentence. There is nothing worse than visiting a country for a few weeks and staying for a few years because you’ve been locked up. It’s simply not worth it.
G13 Club is a private social club for medical and recreational cannabis users based in Barcelona. It is also a space for musical and artistic development that promotes a multitude of activities focused on the expression and exhibition of urban, hip hop, reggae and skate culture.