A US man has been arrested for allegedly smoking cannabis in public and has been transferred to public prosecutors, who are likely to charge him with drug possession, Taipei police said yesterday.
The suspect, a 33-year-old English-language teacher from the US, has been in Taiwan for many years and had obtained permanent residence status, the Xinyi District (信義) Police Precinct said.
Police officers were patrolling a strip of nightclubs near Taipei 101 at about 2am yesterday morning, when they came upon the suspect, who was holding a cannabis joint, the precinct said.
They searched the man and allegedly found a pouch containing 0.78g of cannabis.
The precinct quoted the suspect as saying that he had intended to celebrate Saturday’s International Cannabis Day, but wanted to mark the day concurrently with his friends in the US, claiming that he did not know it was illegal to do so in Taiwan.
Possession and trafficking of cannabis is a criminal offense, as marijuana is classified as a Category 2 illegal drug under the nation’s Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例), the precinct said.
In another case earlier this month, police in Hsinchu County said two foreigners were charged with smuggling and illegal drug offenses for ordering cannabis seeds from abroad and having them mailed to their address in Taiwan.
An investigation unit at the Jhubei Police Department identified the suspects as a Jordanian named Hasan and a Turk named Yazid.
The two suspects had placed three mail orders for cannabis seeds with an online business based in the Netherlands, but the packages were intercepted by Taiwanese customs inspectors.
Raids conducted at Yazid’s home found one mature marijuana plant, which he said was purchased at a Taipei nightclub.
When questioned, Hasan and Yazid said they had been living in Taiwan for many years and wanted to grow marijuana plants themselves, because smoking cannabis was a regular habit in their home nations.
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