Drug laws vary wildly from country to country.
Some countries take a zero-tolerance approach, detaining drug users for long periods of time and even handing out the death penalty. Others provide help, support, and treatment for addicts. Then, there are places where drugs are completely legal.
Which one gets it right? Read on to find out.
The Weirdest Drug Laws Around the World
Don’t even consider using drugs on your next vacation before reading this list.
1. You Can’t Mix Drink and Drugs in Daytona
In Florida’s Daytona Beach, it’s illegal to be under the influence of alcohol and narcotics at the same time. Police often carry out urine drug tests to catch people out.
Tilden Law Firm can advise you on how to deal with drug charges like this one.
2. You Have to Pay Tax on Your Drugs in North Carolina
It may not make sense to acquire legal substances then publicly declare them for tax reasons, but that’s exactly what people can do in North Carolina.
Under the state’s unauthorizes substance tax, there is an excise tax system, which allows members of the public to buy ‘drug stamps’. These stamps apply to all controlled substances, including moonshine and prescription drugs as well as cocaine, marijuana and heroin.
A gram of marijuana will incur a $3.50 stamp, while the same amount of cocaine carries a fee of $50.
The possession of these drugs doesn’t suddenly become legal once you’ve bought the stamps, but it does fulfill your tax requirements. The North Carolina Tax Revenue doesn’t pass this information on to police, so taxpayers don’t have that to worry about. Still, it’s no surprise that these stamps aren’t very popular.
3. It’s Illegal to Vape in Thailand
You may think that vaping doesn’t belong on this list, since it’s not technically a drug. In Thailand, it might as well be!
In most countries, vaping is seen as a less harmful alternative to smoking. Thai officials would much prefer you stuck to cigarettes, because vape pens and e-cigarettes are completely prohibited.
If you’re caught in possession of one, you could face a fine and/or a prison sentence of up to ten years. Keep that in mind if you’re planning a vacation in the kingdom any time soon.
4. China Holds Drug Users in Detention Centers
Drug use is not a criminal offense in China. Instead, it falls under the law as an ‘administrative offense’. However, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t go unpunished.
There are ‘detention centers’ all across the country, where drugs users are often forced to stay for up to two years. Upon release, they also have to go through a mandatory period of community rehabilitation.
Compulsory detention centers like this also exist across South East Asia and many violate human rights by subjecting detainees to inhumane treatment and even torture.
5. You Can be Hanged for Drug Possession in Malaysia
Malaysia has some of the harshest drug laws in the world, with a mandatory death sentence for drug trafficking and possession.
You can receive the death penalty for possession of just 15 gm of heroin, 1,000 gm of opium, 200 gm of marijuana or 40 gm of cocaine.
Those who carry amounts lower than these usually receive a fine, a prison sentence or mandatory rehabilitation.
6. Drugs are Completely Legal in Portugal
Portugal drug laws are radically different from the rest of the world.
There, the use of all drugs was completely decriminalized in 2001.
This came as a response to a crisis that gripped the country, in which 1 in 10 people was using heroin, and rates of deaths from overdose were through the roof.
Officials opted to treat drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal one, prescribing treatments and handing out small fines instead of jail sentences and criminal records.
The law change was a huge success, and as a result, rates of HIV infection, crimes, and drug-related deaths all decreased.
7. You Can Grow Your Own Weed in the Netherlands
Amsterdam drug laws are famously lax, which have tourists flocking there year after year.
The capital is famous for its coffee shops, where anyone over the age of 18 can buy weed, pre-rolled joints and space cakes freely over the counter. However, that’s not the only way to get weed.
If you want, you can even grow it yourself. As long as you’re over the age of 18 have fewer than 5 cannabis plants, it’s completely legal.
8. Indonesia Executes Drug Traffickers
Indonesia has the largest drug market in Asia, and to combat this, the country has launched a war on drugs.
There are harsh penalties for anyone who attempts to smuggle drugs into the country, ranging from lengthy prison sentences to execution. Many foreigners have fallen foul of this law, and a British grandmother found herself on death row in 2012 after officials found 10 lb of cocaine in her suitcase.
A group of Australian kingpins known as ‘the Bali nine‘ received the same treatment after attempting to smuggle $4 million worth of heroin out of the country. A firing squad executed them in 2015.
9. Drug Users Can be Shot on Sight in the Philippines
President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to rid the country of its growing drug problem after his election in 2016. To do that, he took a radical approach.
He allowed police to shoot suspected drug users and dealers on sight, in a move that has seen more than 7,000 of the country’s citizens murdered.
10. Japan Bans Foreign Drug Users from Entering the Country
If you’re found with even a minuscule amount of marijuana or cocaine in Japan, you can receive a prison term of up to seven years.
While many other countries detain foreign visitors after catching them with drugs, Japan has a zero-tolerance policy. Instead, they deport them and ban them from returning to the country.
Enjoy Weed Legally
In America, some drug laws are more relaxed these days, and marijuana is now legal in many states.
This means there are lots of new ways to enjoy it. Now, you can buy it various forms, including edibles, oils, and vaporizers.
To learn more, read our post on different ways to consume marijuana.