China has issued a warning to its citizens in Canada of potential threats of marijuana use. Despite the recent legalization of recreational pot use in the North American country, the Chinese consulate-general in Toronto published a statement on the official website, writing:

“The consulate would like to remind the Chinese citizens in the consular district, especially international students, in order to protect your own physical and mental health, please avoid contact or using marijuana.”

China has a history of strict anti-drug laws, with severe penalties for the use, sale, and cultivation of narcotics. The consulate made note of this in the issued statement, mentioning that:

“Article 357 of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China also clearly stipulates that cannabis is a drug‌. It is illegal to grow, possess and use cannabis in China.”

Citizens who contain traces of THC (the main psychoactive in marijuana) upon returning home could be convicted as a smuggler and may potentially face the death penalty as a result. Article 357 of China’s criminal code places marijuana in the same category of narcotics as heroin and cocaine. 

Despite the seemingly harsh warning, China’s statements are the mild compared to other Asian nations.

The Japanese consulate in Vancouver published an advisory for its citizens in Canada, indicating that offenders of the nation’s drug laws can be prosecuted at home. The South Korean embassy too, warned its citizens that purchasing, selling or using marijuana, even in a country where it is legal, will be considered illegal and individuals can be punished accordingly. 

Despite the issued warnings by the three Asian nations, it is unclear how laws will be enforced overseas.

Other global nations, such as the United Kingdom and Germany have released reminders for their tourists in Canada indicating that local laws differ from the North American country. Mexico is currently in the works of announcing its regulations for its citizens overseas.

The recreational use of cannabis has been legal across Canada since October 17, 2018.