Consuming drugs unknowingly while overseas usually not an offence: Shanmugam

The home affairs minister also urged people to be more careful when travelling to a country where food containing controlled drugs is sold.

Fiona Tan | September 13, 2022, 01:50 PM

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The Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam said unknowing or involuntary consumption of drugs is usually not an offence.

Shanmugam was responding to the questions posed by Members of Parliament (MPs) Joan Pereira and Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim on Sep. 12 via a written reply.

Buying items with cannabis unknowingly

Pereira asked what the Ministry of Home Affairs' (MHA) will do to Singapore residents who travel to Thailand and accidentally purchase items containing cannabis as they cannot read Thai well.

Zhulkarnain also asked the ministry the steps they are taking to raise awareness about the dangers and prevalence of common food products containing cannabis, such as chocolates and candies, that are available overseas.

Thailand is the first Asian country to legalise the use and consumption of cannabis from June 9, 2022.

Earlier this month, Shanmugam said that Thailand's legalisation of cannabis will make the government's efforts to keep Singapore drug-free harder.

Usually no offence for those who consume drugs unwittingly or involuntarily

The home affairs and law minister said in his written response that the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) will launch an investigation when someone is found to have consumed drugs.

Those found to have knowingly committed drug offences will be dealt with in accordance with the law.

"If the consumption was unwitting, or involuntary, usually no offence would have been committed," the written reply stated.

Urged people to be more careful

He urged individuals to be more careful when they are travelling to countries that sell food, beverage and other products containing controlled drugs.

They should check if said product contains controlled drugs and to avoid purchasing and/ or consuming the product when in doubt, the written reply added.

At the same time, CNB will be ramping up its efforts to educate the public and create awareness.

This includes working with the media to report cases where CNB has seized food products containing cannabis from persons who brought the items in from overseas.

The agency will also partner with various stakeholders, such as educational institutions and National Service institutions, to raise awareness of the harms of cannabis among students and full-time national servicemen.

CNB will also set up physical touchpoints, such as at the checkpoints, where they will caution travellers against purchasing such items overseas.

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