Recently, a foreigner who tested positive for cannabis was deported from Shanghai, China after using it during a trip to Thailand, where cannabis is now fully legal. This incident serves as a reminder that while some countries may have legalized cannabis, it is still against the law in others like China, where drug laws are strictly enforced, and harsh penalties meted out to those that flout them. Quick Facts: – China has a zero-tolerance for drugs. – Drug-related offenses come with severe consequences, including the death penalty. – Police carry out random drug tests, including on entry into the country. While consuming cannabis in places like Thailand, where it is legal, seems safe and harmless, this is not entirely true. It is crucial to recognize and respect the drug laws of other countries, especially when traveling or visiting. Therefore, people need to understand the risks involved in consuming it, even when outside their home country. Clearing the Myths: – “I only take drugs outside of China, so it’s not an issue” – This is a fallacy. Chinese police can identify if you have consumed drugs within the previous three months, irrespective of where you took them. – “I only take drugs at home so won’t get caught” – Not entirely true. Chinese police act on information from others about potential drug users. Therefore, police may raid homes to search for drugs and test residents for traces of drug use. – “I don’t take drugs, but my friends do when they come over” – If other people using drugs in your home get caught, you face criminal charges for providing a place for them to consume drugs. The punishment for this offense could be imprisonment for three years or more. Consequences of Drug-Related Offenses: If caught, the following actions might occur: – Detained and taken to the police station – Questioned for up to 24 hours – Face administrative detention, criminal charges, or released, and imposed with possible fines – Administrative detention period varies between three to 15 days – Deported without warning or given time to sort belongings out – There may also be a five-year travel ban for foreign nationals from re-entering China – Criminal charges could lead to detention for up to 12 months before the trial date and verdict handed down. What the British Consulate can do if you are Detained: The British Consulate is typically contacted when foreign nationals are detained. They offer help in various ways, including: – Contact detainees as soon as possible after being officially informed about the detention and visit if required. – Visit on a regular basis for long-term detention, usually once a month. – Inform the family and friends of detainees about the arrest/detention. – Provide legal advice with a list of English speaking lawyers and prisoners’ welfare charity called Prisoners Abroad. – Offer education on the Chinese prison system, mail and censorship, privileges, and medical services. To reiterate, make informed decisions about cannabis use not only in Thailand but also in places where it is illegal, like China. This article does not necessarily reflect the views of HighThailand. We believe in responsible cannabis use and the importance of respecting the laws of different countries, even when it comes to personal drug use.
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