Should marijuana be legalized in Vietnam

Drugs and Alcohol in Vietnam

While alcohol is widespread and affordable in Vietnam, Vietnam's drug laws are among the toughest in the world.

Alcohol in Vietnam

Beer is available everywhere in the country at affordable prices - both domestic brands like Hanoi Beer and Saigon Beer, and imported brands like Tiger Beer and Heineken. Vietnam also owes some good wines from the region around Dalat to the French colonial era, as the French could not be without their grape juice, even far from home. Viticulture came to a complete standstill in the Vietnam War, but for several years now, with the help of Australian winemakers, local wines have been produced again.

The most popular alcoholic drink in the country, however, is rice wine, which is called "ruou gao" in the north of the country and "ruou de" in the south. A home-brewed, non-distilled variant is the party wine "ruou can", which is fermented in large ceramic pots and later drunk through long straws.

The snake wine "ruou ran", which is sold as a souvenir in many shops, is one of the so-called medicinal wines ("ruou thuoc"): Herbs, spices or all kinds of animals are added to distilled rice wine. Apart from the fact that nobody should encourage poaching of threatened animal species anyway, bottles with snakes or other animals are confiscated by customs in Germany.

Amazingly cheap imported alcohol like Johnny Walker, Remy Martin or Martini is almost always counterfeit. In the best case, the buyer receives colored water, in the worst case adulterated alcohol, the consumption of which often ends in the emergency room of the hospitals.

Drugs and Alcohol in Vietnam:
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Drugs in Vietnam

The possession (and not only the consumption) of drugs is severely punished in Vietnam: Large amounts of opium and heroin come into the country every year from the "Golden Triangle" of Laos, Burma and China and even possession of 600 grams of heroin draws them Death penalty.

Although nobody has been executed in Vietnam since 2011, a good 500 people are on the country's death row, including foreigners, of course. Anyone caught with smaller quantities can be sent to so-called "rehabilitation centers" for a longer stay. Instead of group discussions with other drug addicts and psychotherapy, however, there are twelve hours of forced labor a day waiting for those affected, as well as a diet that prevents starvation.

The possession of so-called “soft drugs” such as marijuana is also severely punished in Vietnam. As one of the few countries in the world, they even punish pure consumption: Anyone who has smoked a joint in a cozy atmosphere and is caught "high" by the police without a single gram of hashish can expect a hefty punishment. The Vietnamese judiciary is also considered hopelessly corrupt, so that no one needs to hope for a fair trial. One advantage of corruption is that many police officers allow themselves to be bribed if they catch a tourist with marijuana. According to reports, getting soft drugs is still a breeze, especially in Saigon.