Canada became the second country after Uruguay to legalize recreational marijuana on October 17, 2018. Some countries aren’t letting their citizens partake, though, whether they’re at home or abroad. Japan, South Korea, and China have put out statements that residents could face legal and health repercussions in their home country if they are caught consuming weed in Canada.
It all started with Japan. On October 4, the Japanese Consulate in Vancouver put out a statement saying Japan’s strict Cannabis Control Law applies to what residents do overseas as well as in their home country. The law states that anyone caught growing, importing, or exporting marijuana could be punished by up to 10 years in prison, and anyone possessing weed can get up to seven years.
The South Korean Embassy in Canada followed Japan’s lead on October 16 by tweeting that it’s illegal for South Koreans to consume cannabis, even if the country they’re in allows it. Offenders, the embassy stated, will be “punished accordingly.”
“Weed smokers will be punished according to Korean law, even if they did so in countries where smoking marijuana is legal,” Yoon Se-jin, head of the Narcotics Crime Investigation Division, told Korea Times. “There won’t be an exception.”
China is the latest country to warn its citizens about Canadian cannabis but didn’t go as far as South Korea in saying the government would punish those who legally consumed marijuana abroad. The Chinese consulate in Toronto issued a statement “to remind the Chinese citizens in the consular district, especially international students, in order to protect your own physical and mental health, please avoid contact or using marijuana.”
Taking cannabis out of Canada is illegal, no matter where you’re going. But if you’re a citizen of Japan, South Korea, or China, you might want to think twice before lighting up a legal joint or two.