China being one of the countries with the harshest sentences against cannabis, the legalization of recreational marijuana seems very worrisome
China is one of the worst countries in the world to be arrested with cannabis. In fact, the main drug control agency in Beijing has blamed the legalization of marijuana in Canada and parts of the United States as the main cause of the increase in marijuana trafficking in China, which has been defined as a new threat for China.
The great Asian giant punishes with extreme harshness the people who are caught trafficking in drugs. Any citizen of China or another country, even if from a Western country, who is arrested with more than 50 grams (1.76 ounces) of cannabis can be punished with the death penalty.
Recently, Liu Yuejin, deputy director of China’s National Narcotics Control Commission, told a news conference that the number of marijuana users in China had increased by 25% in 2018. The number of people who use cannabis in China it has been estimated at around 24,000. The truth is that in a country with more than 1000 million people, the figure of 24000 seems insignificant. Perhaps the real reason for the words of Liu Yuejin lies in the commercial war between the United States and China.
Liu Yuejin went further when he assured that in two years the cannabis traffic from the United States to China had increased. He explained that he was very concerned because the police had intercepted 115 packages sent through international postal packages. Among the 115 packages sent from different countries, 55 kilograms (1940 ounces) of cannabis were seized in 2018.
Liu Yuejin explained that almost all of the suspected marijuana packets were from foreign students or Chinese students who had come to study in a foreign country. He also said that the usual method for introducing marijuana into China was through international shipments. However, he did not say how many packages came from the United States.
Drug trafficking is a very serious crime that can be punished with the death penalty in the Chinese criminal code.
A Canadian citizen named Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was sentenced to death last year for trafficking 222 grams of matanphetamine. Given China’s judicial precedents, it is unlikely that the sentence of death of this Canadian citizen will be revoked. In fact, he would not be the first Westerner executed in China for drug trafficking.
China started a very tough war on drugs in 2005. In this campaign, it asked Chinese citizens to betray anyone suspected of being related to drugs, including cannabis. The government offers economic rewards to the informers.
According to China’s Anti-Drug Law of 2008, drug users, even for the first time, will be locked up in rehabilitation centers, without trial, between three to six years. These “rehabilitation centers” are actually prisons and those that leave them have a relapse rate of 90%.
According to Human Right Watch, the guards of these centers used HIV tests to know with which prisoners they could have sex.
The same organization says that in China there are about 700 of these centers. They are horrible places where inmates are brutally beaten to work 18 hours a day. The inmates do not receive economic compensation and do not have access to the most elementary medical attention.