If you’re an avid traveler who loves cannabis, you might want to take Singapore off your list of must-see destinations- unless you’re willing to go a month without smoking weed or risk a hefty fine (or worse)!
That’s because Singapore has extremely strict drug laws and there’s a possibility you could get tested for drugs at the Singaporean airport for cannabis. As Global News reported, Travel Canada is warning Canadians against consuming cannabis and traveling to Singapore in the tweet below:
Custom officers can request a drug test at the point of entry to #Singapore. If you test positive for drugs, you can be arrested and prosecuted, even if the drugs were consumed prior to your arrival in the country. https://t.co/abesNz8fQv
So you might want to rethink getting high before you fly, even if your airport has designated cannabis smoking areas like YVR does, and especially if you’re going to Singapore. Canada made headlines around the world for legalizing cannabis a few weeks ago, so you might reasonably expect Canadian travellers to have a target on their backs in the minds of custom officials.
Countries warn citizens not to smoke cannabis in Canada
Recently, countries like Japan, China, South Korea, and Singapore have made headlines for warning their citizens they could face prosecution for using cannabis in Canada because, even though it’s legal in Canada, they are obligated to follow the laws of their own country in addition to Canadian law.
As Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) warned its citizens:
“Any Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident found to have abused controlled drugs overseas will be treated as if he/she had abused drugs in Singapore.
CNB conducts enforcement checks at Singapore’s checkpoints and will take action against those found to have consumed drugs overseas.”
While you could argue that these countries are overreaching and interfering in the personal liberties of their citizens, Singapore is taking it to another extreme by imposing their laws on Canadians, while in Canada!
Canadians are NOT Singaporean citizens (Singapore does not allow dual citizenships), and are therefore not bound by Singaporean law while in Canada, but Canadians could still be punished for doing something that is completely legal in Canada- and the punishment for using cannabis is nothing to laugh at, either.
Singapore’s extreme drug laws
The Canadian government has this to say about Singapore’s drug laws:
“Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include the death penalty.”
Imagine facing the death penalty over cannabis! That seems crazy, but many of Singapore’s neighbours have similar drug laws, like Malaysia. CLN recently covered the story of a Malaysian man sentenced to death for providing patients with medical cannabis oil, but the sentence has led to so much backlash and uproar that Malaysia is looking at legalizing medical cannabis.
But Singapore, so far, seems steadfast in its anti-drug approach. Let’s say you’re a Canadian who tests positive for cannabis at the airport in Singapore. How bad could it be?
On Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau website, it says possession or consumption of cannabis can get you up to 10 years in jail, a $20,000 (Singapore dollar) fine, or both! That’s the same punishment for cocaine. If you’re caught trafficking, you could be sentenced to death.
On a side note, the website has a picture of some of the worst-looking cannabis I’ve ever seen (see bel0w)!
It’s still too early to see what effect this may have on Singapore’s tourism industry, but with many countries becoming increasingly tolerant of cannabis, laws like Singapore’s are beginning to stand out as increasingly out-of-step with the rest of the world.