In one of our recent posts, we discussed the legality of cannabis in some of the world’s strictest countries. Some of which were the kinds of places you could very easily face the death penalty for simple possession of small quantities of cannabis.

The fact that weed is safer than dozens of widely available legal drugs makes draconian laws like these impossible to fathom. One step down from these countries that aren’t following America’s example, you have another list of places with surprisingly intolerant attitudes to weed.

You’re unlikely to find yourself facing the death penalty, but the following countries are exactly the kinds of places you do not want to be caught carrying, consuming or selling cannabis under any circumstances:


South Korea

The medical cannabis policy of South Korea is relatively relaxed and certainly proactive. However, recreational cannabis is still illegal in all its forms.  Remarkably, being caught in possession of weed with no intention of selling or distributing can still land you a fine of up to $40,000. If they suspect you are planning on selling it - irrespective of the quantity - you could end up spending five years behind bars. Unfortunately, many foreigners visiting South Korea often mistakenly think recreational weed is legal and subsequently land themselves in a whole lot of bother.



Rastafarianism is part of the culture and history of Ethiopia, so you would expect that attitudes to cannabis would be quite relaxed. And you’d also be completely wrong, as authorities in Ethiopia seem to take pleasure in throwing the book at anyone caught carrying or using cannabis. Possession of weed alone could result in a prison sentence of up to six months, though this top-end sentence is rarely handed out. In addition, cannabis isn’t a particularly readily available commodity, so you probably won’t have the opportunity to get yourself in trouble.



Public opinion in Hungary is divided squarely down the middle, with regard to cannabis policy. However, authorities in Hungary make it clear that they’ve no intention of tolerating the use of recreational weed. If caught carrying no more than 100g of cannabis, it’s considered to be for personal use, and you will find yourself sent to a mandatory rehabilitation program. If caught with even slightly more than this, you’ll be charged with drug dealing and could spend the next decade in prison. If you plan on carrying cannabis in Hungary, make sure it’s the smallest possible quantity and keep it discreet!



Despite being on a pretty level pegging with much of the West in terms of other drug policies, Japan continues to heavily punish those caught using, carrying or distributing cannabis. Make no mistake about it - even carrying a relatively small quantity of weed could earn you a five-year visit to a Japanese prison. You’re far more likely to be handed a heavy fine if you aren’t carrying a great deal, but get caught with enough to be accused of distribution and it’s 10 years of your life you won’t get back. There’s not a great deal of weed in Japan anyway, given how near-impossible it is to get the stuff in undetected.



Last but not least, cannabis still grows completely wild and untamed in various regions of Pakistan. It’s also been a popular product and part of the country’s culture for some time, so you’d expect at least moderately lenient attitudes.  Instead, what you actually get is the threat of up to seven years in prison for carrying or distributing even small quantities of weed. That said, use of the stuff is so rife in some places that they simply cannot keep it under control, and therefore turn a blind eye to it.

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