Cannabis Phil: Here are the absolute worst places on earth to be caught with weed. You’re welcome.

Cannabis Phil Feb 2, 2019

“Cannabis is illegal in most countries,” reads an official Canada travel advisory warning citizens that if they happen to pack pot for their next foreign trip, the “Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf.”


In Malaysia, those who sell drugs can be punished with death. Just for having drugs in your possession, you can be fined, jailed, or deported. Driving drunk is also punished harshly in Malaysia.

In China, if you are caught with drugs, you could be forced to attend drug rehab in a facility run by the government. Execution is the penalty for some drug crimes.

In Vietnam, drug crimes are taken very seriously. If you are arrested with more than 1.3 pounds of heroin, you will automatically be executed.

Iran is not known to be tolerant of criminal offenses in general, and drug offenses are no different. The use of opium is a particular problem in Iran, in part because it is produced in neighboring Afghanistan. If you are caught with drugs in Iran, the best case scenario is a large fine and the worst-case scenario is the death penalty.

In Thailand, those trafficking narcotics may be put to death. Drug users are frequently sentenced to mandatory rehab.

Dubai is known to be very intolerant of drug abuse. Many prescription drugs that are legal in other parts of the world can get you put in jail in Dubai. It is typical for drug offenders to be sentenced to four years in prison and then be deported. Failing a drug test can be grounds for incarceration Dubai, even if you are not in possession of any drugs.

Saudi Arabia
The sale of drugs in Saudi Arabia almost always results in the death penalty. Saudi Arabia and judicial authorities are not inclined to make exceptions. Alcohol use is illegal in Saudi Arabia, and possession or use of alcohol or drugs can be punished by public flogging, fines, lengthy imprisonment, or death.

Singaporean police will assume that you are selling drugs if you are caught with relatively small amounts. If you are convicted of selling drugs, you will be sentenced to death.

In Cambodia, you can be sentenced to many years in prison or even life in prison for possessing drugs. Unlike many other South Asian countries, Cambodia does not mandate the death penalty for drug trafficking.

Indonesian drug laws are harsh. If you are caught with marijuana, you can get up to twenty years in jail. Other drugs carry jail terms of up to twelve years, and the sale of drugs is punishable by death.

If you’re caught with drugs in Laos, you could pay up to $35,000. If you are found with narcotics, you could spend ten years or more in prison.

North Korea
Foreigners rarely visit North Korea, but there are several tour groups that can help you visit the reclusive nation. Do not bring drugs into North Korea, because you could find yourself sentenced to an extremely lengthy stay in a prison camp. You will have no contact with your friends or family, and it may be very difficult for the United States government to intervene.

The Philippines
In the Philippines, drug traffickers are sentenced to death. You may be presumed to be a drug trafficker if you have more than a third of an ounce of a drug in your possession.

Now that Canada has legalized and the States seems to be changing its attitude towards cannabis, everything is coming up roses for cannabis users’ right? Wrong!

Some of my friends took the rules literally and started rolling on Air Canada once it was legal, on a flight back from Vancouver. The smell was tolerated and no one said anything! Vancouver flights got to love them!

I think most people seem to forget to how well tolerated cannabis was in Toronto, as you can walk throughout the city and the smell is everywhere. While attitudes are changing, the stigma and laws are still there. There are a lot of countries that have a zero tolerance towards any narcotics. Once in a while, the family goes to Taiwan, and I will always remember my first time there, as you enter the airport and just before you go through customs, there was this wooden plaque. It was like a welcome sign with several different languages carved in it. The short points were “by death” and “all narcotics,” so I always have packed fairly light when traveling to the motherlands. It’s common for a lot of Asian countries, especially the South to have stringent laws, some may have softened its tone by changing it death to deportation, but I still wouldn’t advise it.

While vapes are still kind of new, most customs wouldn’t know the difference between vapes and vapes for THC. A friend of mine did manage to pack a regular vape with THC e-liquid across to Florida to Disneyland. The irony is that he took a regular vape tank, which is four times the recommended size of a regular THC tank. So he ended up blowing major THC clouds while walking around Disneyland! Brilliant! Now that’s a family vacation.


Phil touring a facility with Cheryl ShumanNow

One has to be a little cautious for example when traveling to the States this summer.  Canadians related to the cannabis industry getting pulled aside and either detained or sent back. One guy had cannabis investments on his cell phone email and was rejected; they hassled a few of my buddies who were attending a cannabis expo in Vegas. They were blatant about it, not realizing that there was this border tension going on with the cannabis industry. I wiped my phone and deleted some social media, mostly of cannabis farming shots. Some countries have taken it a step further and started screening cell phones, so you may also want to delete any party pics you may have acquitted on vacation — kind of hard to explain why you’re taking hits from a 4-foot bong.


South Korea, for one, has even threatened to prosecute any of its citizens who happen to consume pot while visiting Canada. If that citizen happens to be a K-Pop star, they can probably expect to see their careers ruined.”


Stay vigilant when traveling and don’t go with those cannabis convention bags, you know those nice canvas bags, with the big ass cannabis leaf on it. It usually draws the bad kind of attention.  And could someone please tell me where the “Take a Joint, Need a Joint Recycle” bins at Pearson? My friend can’t seem to find it?

Cannabis Phil

It has been amazing to see the cannabis industry grow exponentially over a couple of years, to see this kind of growth is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I first started in the industry as a writer/photographer for High! Canada Magazine, interviewing some top people in the cannabis space. Eventually, I started doing content/video work, social media coverage of various cannabis events across North America, catching the pulse of what was going on and partaking in a quite a few sessions, meeting some truly amazing people on the way. In my previous enslavement (aka "career"), I was involved in the business side of things, so I do have an invested interest in the business aspect. Coming into my somewhat “village elder years”, I hope to bridge the gap between generations, in hopes of breaking the stigma and showing others it's okay to get high, while possibly showing them how. My passion for cannabis and writing covers; strain reviews, vapes, dabs, shatter, social media coverage of events, new products, patient advocacy, innovations and the business of cannabis.

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