Legalisation has become a hot-topic among Chinese expats, splitting along generational lines. Meanwhile China grows thousands of hectares of cannabis – mostly controlled by the so-called Red Army.
A letter, published on the official website of the consulate-general in Toronto, includes the following warning: “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.”
Last week South Korea went further — threatening to prosecute any citizens that consumed the drug in Canada on their return.
The Chinese consulate’s letter did not go as far as that, but lists the specific terms under which it is legal to use marijuana Canada, and reminded people that selling or giving the drug to anyone under 18 years old or trying to carry it through customs remained illegal.
The possession, sale and cultivation of marijuana remains strictly prohibited in China and the letter, unsurprisingly, warned people not to try to take the drug abroad.
“The regulation of marijuana might cause severe consequences to foreigners living in Canada,” the letter said.
“If someone breaks the law on marijuana regulation and is sentenced, that person with a criminal record can possibly be deported.” It went on to warn people not to “misunderstand” and “do as you wish”.
The change in the law has created a cultural divide between generations of Asian-Canadians. While some young Chinese have hailed the move, older immigrants have been critical.
Some have taken to the internet to voice their concerns on the “dangers’ posed by the drug, with alarmist posts like, “You’ll never imagine how many Chinese people’s lives will be ruined by the legalisation!”