If you’re into heroin or opium, this is not the article or nation for you. You are playing a very dangerous game bringing an appetite for these drugs into the country, and ANYONE carrying even a small amount of heroin is given the death sentence. So, again, please reconsider your life choices if this is your intention, and seek help.
Also, I’m not advocating anyone smoke marijuana. Let’s be very upfront about that. It’s probably a terrible idea, regardless of how ‘easy’ or ‘repercussion-free’ it might seem. There’s always that first person that gets screwed, and they thought they could get away with it, too. And, whatever you do, do NOT take your stash or anyone else’s across borders! Do not be a stupid drug user, and you’ll have many lovely years of getting high in low-risk settings ahead of you.
Click through for rumor, vague laws, innuendo, hearsay, bribes, and the death penalty – everything I’ve been able to find about drugs in Vietnam!
As I’m sure you’re aware, Vietnam is a Socialist nation, and SE Asia has the strictest drug punishments in the world, thanks to the flood of heroin and opium originating in the nearby Golden Triangle (a huge source of poppies). Getting lost in a SE Asian drug nightmare is, frankly, a scary f*cking idea – just the thought of the mind-melting bureaucracy involved (not to mention the fact of, you know, incarceration and/or execution) should drive you to be extra careful, if this is how you choose to get your kicks.
Fortunately for all these people loving their illegal kicks, Vietnam is currently undergoing a huge tourist boom, and tourists like getting high on marijuana.
Vietnam strictly enforces its drug laws… mostly. As prescribed by the Vietnamese Criminal Code, possession of heroin in quantities larger than 1.3 pounds gets you a mandatory death sentence. In 2007, 85 people were executed for drug related offenses.
Relevant clauses from the Criminal Code:
– Article 185a, Clause 2 (growing opium poppy or other plants containing narcotics); Article 185b (illegally manufacturing narcotics); Article 185c (illegally storing narcotics); Article 185d (illegally transporting narcotics); Article 185e (illegally buying and selling narcotics);
It is a fact that Vietnam’s biggest and most threatening drug problem stems from abuse and trafficking of opium and heroin, and that these areas, within local Vietnamese society, are where police are primarily focusing their efforts.
It is generally offered in either pre-rolled joint form or small plastic baggies. Prices vary, but a small baggie is about 5-10 USD, and pre-rolled joints are a little more expensive. Papers for rolling are available from most cigarette vendors, especially around Bui Vien, and come in two sizes – short or long. Make your own filter, as pre-made filters are difficult to find. I have not heard anything about marijuana being available in higher quantities, but I suppose it probably is somewhere – someone’s buying it wholesale, after all, at some point in the supply chain. Quality seems to be almost universally derided.
In the end, Vietnam laws obviously apply to all visitors to Vietnam, whether you’re a VN citizen or not, and they do not generally go easy on those they choose to convict (mostly traffickers, but you never know!). If it’s a small infraction, expect to serve time and be deported, although it is entirely possible that you may be executed as a warning to others, as this is technically the lawful punishment for being caught with narcotics of any kind.So, yeah. Don’t be stupid. We like you the way you are – psychologically well and not on any blacklists or secret gulags. And also alive.Bottom Line:
- Don’t be stupid (THIS I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH)
- Don’t be overt
- Get the local lay of the land from an in-country expat
- Be respectful
- Just pay the bribe, if such a circumstance arises. Don’t make a big deal – you got caught
- Respect bar owner wishes regarding smoking in public areas/establishments. This is becoming more of a taboo
Many thanks to the brave, anonymous smoker friends that let me pick their brains about this fascinating topic! As the medical marijuana and recreational legalization efforts in the USA expand, it’s interesting to compare and contrast laws and attitudes in the developing world, especially a one-party socialist state.
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