Unknowingly consuming drugs overseas usually not an offence: Shanmugam
It is usually not an offence to unknowingly consume drugs overseas, said Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam.
He was responding to questions in Parliament on Monday about cases of Singaporean travellers buying products with cannabis in Thailand.
In a written response, he said the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) will investigate when a person is found to have consumed drugs.
But he added that if the consumption was unwitting or involuntary, usually no offence would have been committed.
Ms Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC) had asked the minister about Singapore residents who travel to Thailand and accidentally buy items containing cannabis when they are unable to read the ingredient lists in Thai.
Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim (Chua Chu Kang GRC) had asked what steps are being taken to raise awareness about the dangers and prevalence of common food products, such as chocolates or candies, containing cannabis that are readily available in retail markets overseas.
Thailand became the first Asian country to decriminalise cannabis on June 9.
It is now commonly sold and found in many products and foods there, including tom yum soup, which is popular with many Singaporeans.
Mr Shanmugam had previously said that the legalisation of the drug there has presented challenges for Singapore and its drug-free stance.
On Monday, he said CNB has been partnering with various stakeholders, such as educational institutions and national service institutions, to create awareness of the harms of cannabis among students and full-time national servicemen through preventive drug education programmes such as talks, skits and exhibitions, videos and informational toolkits.
He said CNB also works with the media to report cases where food products containing cannabis were seized from people who brought the items in from overseas.
"Further, CNB is working towards engaging travellers at physical touch points, such as the checkpoints, to caution them against the purchase of such items overseas," he said.
"We urge persons travelling to countries where food, beverage and other products containing controlled drugs may be sold, to be careful and check if a product contains controlled drugs. If in doubt, do not purchase or consume the product."