SINGAPORE: A 32-year-old Singaporean man, Muhammad Dzulhilmi Salimi, has been sentenced to five years and four months in jail and five strokes of the cane for the importation of cannabis-laced gummies and candies.
This marks the Republic’s first conviction involving the importation of cannabis edibles, highlighting the severity with which Singapore treats drug-related offences.
Dzulhilmi pleaded guilty on Monday (18 Dec), to charges including importing a controlled drug, consuming drugs, and possessing utensils intended for drug consumption, as reported by CNA.
Additionally, he faced charges for growing three cannabis plants in his Housing Board flat at Bedok Reservoir Road, a factor considered in his sentencing.
The court learned that Dzulhilmi purchased the cannabis edibles through the mobile application Telegram, communicating with an individual known only as “Nabil,” residing in the United Kingdom.
Nabil specialized in selling cannabis and sweets containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive substance found in cannabis.
Dzulhilmi ordered 20 packets of sweets from Nabil, paying £200 (S$337) in Bitcoin through a friend. He instructed Nabil to repack the sweets to appear less suspicious, but Nabil deemed it unnecessary.
The parcel, containing 19 packets of cannabis-laced sweets, was intercepted by an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officer at a SingPost Centre in Eunos on 19 October 2022.
CNB officers arrested Dzulhilmi on the same day, discovering cannabis plants, loose cannabis, and drug paraphernalia in his residence.
Photos provided by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) depict the colourful and enticing packaging of the seized sweets, resembling well-known candy brands.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Eugene Lau sought a sentence of five to six years imprisonment and five to six strokes of the cane, emphasizing Dzulhilmi’s intention to sell the drugs to friends.
The defence argued that this was Dzulhilmi’s first offence, and he cooperated fully during investigations, pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity.
In response to the case, a CNB spokesperson reiterated that consuming or importing controlled drugs, including cannabis products or edibles, is illegal in Singapore.
The spokesperson emphasized that even overseas, Singapore citizens or permanent residents found to have consumed controlled drugs could face legal consequences.
The CNB drew attention to the global rise of cannabis edibles, cautioning that these products are “irresponsibly marketed as harmless consumables.” They highlighted concerns that the innocuous appearance of these edibles may entice unsuspecting individuals, especially youth, to consume them, risking intoxication and potential overdose.
Furthermore, the CNB referenced scientific evidence indicating the addictive and harmful nature of cannabis, citing studies that highlight the adverse effects of long-term cannabis use, including an increased risk of developing psychotic symptoms or schizophrenia.
The case in Singapore echoes a broader international concern, a surge in accidental cannabis edible consumption among children under six in the United States, leads to health outcomes such as central nervous system depression, including symptoms like drowsiness, lowered blood pressure, and slurred speech.
This raises questions about the responsible marketing and regulation of cannabis-infused products globally.
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