November 02, 2018, Canada
The blanket legalization of cannabis doesn’t just entail repercussions for North America. The development has sent ripple all across the world. For instance, many countries are warning their citizens who are in Canada for work, study or just visiting the country regarding the consumption of cannabis. Most countries are just advising their citizens to be cautious and aware of the newly implemented cannabis laws. However, there are few that are actually ordering their citizens to not consume weed and warning them of criminal liability upon arrival in the country.
Around the implementation of Canada’s Cannabis Act on October 17, embassies and consulates of several countries issued pertinent statements on the topic. Mexico, Germany, UK, France, Malaysia, and China only issued an advisory to their citizens to be aware of the new jurisdictive reality in Canada. On the other hand, foreign offices of Japan and South Korea issued warnings to their nationals to not consume cannabis because of the possible legal repercussions back home.
South Korea: A stringent anti-cannabis republic
Since the regime change in 1950, South Korea has put a blanket ban on both medical and recreational uses of the strain. The existing cannabis prohibition law of the country was enforced in 1976 during the reign of a military dictator. On the eve of October 17, the South Korean officials reminded their nationals in Canada about Cannabis Control Act.
According to the statement issued by the country’s Narcotics Crime Investigation Division, the Cannabis Control Act applies to every Korean even if he is living abroad. In other words, for Korean nationals, this is not just the law of the land, but of the whole world. The statement issued by the Japanese Consulate also conveyed a similar warning. The country has warned their nationals that they can be subjected to the local laws on marijuana use and possession.
The statements issued by Chinese and UK consulates are more of a guideline. These advisories tell their citizens the instances that can lead to the violation of Canada’s Cannabis Act. They have outlined the situations that might culminate into deportation and further legal consequences back home.
Canada can deport foreign nationals guilty of violating national and provincial laws. As per the existing contradictions between local and federal cannabis laws, there are many instances where people might find themselves breaching the law. For foreign nationals, such violations can have severe repercussions. Not only could they face deportation, but they might also face legal action in their home countries.
It is interesting to note that Japanese and South Korean officials haven’t mentioned how they will enforce their local laws on a foreign land. It is very implausible and would be sillier to have a blood test of every citizen coming from Canada. The traces of THC get out of the human system after a couple of days so even that exercise will end up futile. So, Korean and Japanese nationals can easily sidestep stringent home laws in Canada until and unless they themselves provide the evidence to their national authorities (social media posting etc.).