The Strictest Cannabis Laws in the World
By Pete Treebumrung
As far as the U.S. is concerned, legalized cannabis may become a reality in a few short years, but there are still many countries that more than just frown upon the plant. In some countries, getting caught with even a small amount of marijuana, or any drug for that matter, can lead to serious consequences. Sentences can range from the mildly ridiculous (a fine and a few months in prison) to the outright absurd (lashes, death). If you plan on enjoying some cannabis on your trips abroad, here are some countries with the strictest cannabis laws in the world.
Indonesia hates drugs, and they generally consider cannabis to be in the same vein as heroin, crack cocaine, and opium. Getting caught with a joint can get you thrown in jail for up to four years, and trafficking cannabis into the country, even accidentally, can lead to a prison sentence of anywhere between 5 to 15 years, if not death by firing squad. The sentences for drug offenses have been so severe that international organizations like Amnesty and the United Nations have called for clemency during such cases.
Japan takes drugs very seriously, and cannabis is no exception. As a Japanese citizen, your first cannabis-related offense can get you a jail sentence of up to six months, including some hefty fines. If you decide to test your luck and get caught again, however, your sentence can be up to five years in prison with some hard labor. If you happen to be visiting Japan, it’s likely you won’t be persecuted in the same manner, but there’s a good chance you’ll be deported and never be allowed to return, which is what happened to Paris Hilton in 2010. Cultivating cannabis with an intent to sell can also land you a 7-to-10 year prison sentence.
If you plan on stopping by Kuala Lumpur anytime soon, be sure to leave your cannabis at home. Not only could you get a five-year prison sentence and about a $6000-7000 USD fine for less than an ounce of cannabis, but you might even get lashed if you decide to bring any more. One case involved almost a decade in jail for possession of over two ounces, and another was a death sentence for intent to sell.
For a cannabis user, Taiwan is probably one of the last places you’d want to be. Under the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act, you can be sent to prison for a minimum of three years for simply lighting up a joint. The sentences get harsher if you’re in possession of a significant amount of cannabis, and manufacturing or selling it can land you a minimum of 7 years in prison.