Foreigner deported from China for using cannabis in Thailand

A foreigner of unknown nationality was allegedly deported from Shanghai, China, for testing positive for cannabis upon returning from Thailand, where marijuana is legal, according to That’sMag.

Getting high is normal in Thailand since cannabis was decriminalised almost a year ago. But China doesn’t share Thailand’s liberal stance on the psychoactive plant.

According to the British Consulate-General Shanghai

Police drug tests can detect if you have taken drugs within the previous three months. Testing positive in China, no matter in which country you took drugs, is against the law.

“Don’t join the 41 Brits detained by police across China in the past 12 months. Testing positive can lead to detention of up to 15 days, a fine and deportation, or even longer sentences.”

“If other people are proven to have taken drugs in your home, you are likely to face criminal charges for accommodating others to take drugs. You could face three years or more in prison.”

According to the UK government, “Chinese police undertake random drug testing including on entry to the country.”

Last year when Thailand was gearing up to remove cannabis from its list of illicit narcotics, the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok published a warning statement for Chinese nationals thinking about getting high in Thailand.

The message warned that anyone who consumes products containing marijuana before returning to China could face legal trouble at home if they were subject to a spot-check drug test.

“They will be deemed to have abused a narcotic drug that is illegal in China and will be punished accordingly,” the statement read.

“In order to avoid such a risk, Chinese nationals in Thailand should make sure that the products they consume in Thailand contain no THC and CBD.”

China is not the only country that forbids its citizens from consuming cannabis, even in countries where it is legal. Malaysia has previously warned its citizens that they are not permitted to consume cannabis in Thailand.

In August last year, three Thai nationals were detained and fined the equivalent of 5,000 baht each for testing positive for cannabis upon entering Malaysia.

Thai embassies in multiple countries such as South Korea and Singapore also warned travellers not to attempt to smuggle cannabis or cannabis products into their respective countries from Thailand.

In July, a Brazilian student was arrested in Bali after smuggling 9.1 grammes of cannabis on a flight from Thailand, where he legally bought the drug.

His arrest came just days after the Royal Thai Embassy in Jakarta warned people in Thailand not to take cannabis into Indonesia, where they could face harsh penalties or even the death penalty.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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