Weed-friendly Canada warns travellers about unchill drug tests at Singapore borders

Photo: Cannabis Culture / Flickr
Photo: Cannabis Culture / Flickr

Oh Canada, oh Canada. The Great White North became even greater last month when the country legalized recreational marijuana, officially ending the days when Canadians would have to get their weed from shady dealers and smoke up in secret.

As joyous as the moment is for Canadians, it’s a bliss that can only be enjoyed within the country, and definitely not something that can be spilled over here. The government of Canada has advised folks to be extra cautious about (legal) pot consumption when traveling to Singapore, where customs officers can request a drug test upon arrival. Travel Canada tweeted out that people could still be arrested and prosecuted in Singapore even if drugs were consumed prior to arrival in the country.

Of course, the whole arrest and prosecution process only applies to Singaporean citizens and Permanent Residents who test positive in drug tests. The laws against drug consumption are so strict here that any local found to have “abused controlled drugs overseas” will still be treated as if he or she had abused drugs in Singapore. So yes, if you had a little 420 fun in Canada (and very possibly Thailand in the near future), you will still have action taken against you, including up to 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.

In case you ever needed this information, the chemicals in cannabis are usually detectable in urine for one to 30 days after last use, and detectable in hair for several months. According to Mayo Clinic Proceedings, occasional users (up to three times a week) can have weed detectable in urine for three days, and the days it remains detectable extends with heavier consumption.

Nonetheless, Travel Canada warned of the strict measures conducted at Singapore’s borders. And it goes without saying that anyone found with cannabis on them at customs checkpoints will be treated as an illegal trafficker of drugs. The death penalty is on the table.

Central Narcotics Bureau website screengrab
Central Narcotics Bureau website screengrab

Canada is only the second country in the world to legalize the production, sale, and consumption of marijuana after Uruguay, which did so in 2013. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed for the regulation of weed in a bid to keep the drug away from underage users and reduce marijuana-related crimes. Oh, and it’s expected to create a whole new industry that’ll be worth over $4 billion in Canada.

Despite the global softening of attitudes toward the sticky green bud, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has often repeated his firm stance against cannabis, or any kind of drugs really. Back in 2016, he had some pretty strong words against weed legalization in a speech during a UN General Assembly in New York.

“For us, the choice is clear,” the minister said back then. “We want a drug-free Singapore, not a drug-tolerant Singapore.”


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