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I am a French student going to Singapore to study for 4 months on a campus. I have been sent back from Singapore to my departure country as I have been tested positive to THC in the airport with CBD oil and empty grinder in my possession. Do you have any information on how to come back as soon as possible? Or any valuable information that would help?

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    How to come back to Singapore after a drug offense, for real now?
    – littleadv
    Mar 9 at 5:58
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    You got really lucky that they just turned you around and didn't throw you in jail. Your outlook of ever getting back are slim at best. Your best shot is to contact a local immigration lawyer with your exact details: what happened, what records were taken, what is your visa situation, was anything stamped into your passport, etc.
    – Hilmar
    Mar 9 at 7:26
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    Singapore’s drug laws are amongst the most draconian in the world. Forget about going back, it’s not going to happen. Moreover, this denial of entry on your travel record is likely to be a hurdle for any future travel plans for many years to come.
    – Traveller
    Mar 9 at 7:28
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    Guess this is a lesson for future travellers who use THC/CBD, if going to Singapore, refrain from any use for at least a month and don't take anything that could be connected to drug use, accidentally or on purpose, even if it's empty, even if it's legal at home like CBD often is, with you. Mar 9 at 19:40
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    One thing to know about Singapore: what will net you a short jail sentence or even a fine in Western Europe when it comes to drugs carries mandatory death sentence in Singapore.
    – vidarlo
    Mar 9 at 19:46

2 Answers 2

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Not a lawyer, not your lawyer, just a random person who has lived in Singapore for a long time.

Singapore's drug policies are famously strict; however, the reason you have escaped severe penalties is because it's not entirely clear you broke any drug laws.

  • Consuming drugs outside Singapore is an offense if and only if you are Singaporean or permanent resident (Sec. 8A), which you are not. So failing a drug test is not, in itself, an offence if the drugs were consumed outside Singapore. (Compare with this guy, who tested positive while working in Singapore.)
  • Singapore bans all derivatives of Cannabis sativa including THC. However, CBD in itself is considered a (non-permitted) health supplement, not a controlled substance, and there's even a government-sponsored program for research on synthetic CBD.
  • It's an offense to possess any "pipe, syringe, utensil, apparatus or other article intended for the smoking, administration or consumption of a controlled drug". Does your grinder qualify? Maybe, maybe not, depending on whether they can link to intent to consume controlled drugs.

It thus appears that instead of incurring the expense and hassle of taking you to court with a less than watertight case, they opted to simply deny you entry. So the good news is that it's unlikely that there are any drug charges waiting for you in Singapore, since if there were, they would not have let you go.

The bad news is that since you were refused entry, you are now almost certainly blacklisted from Singapore. The period of ban is not disclosed, but it's typically at least 6 months and can be up to 7 years, meaning that you can almost certainly forget about joining your campus program in the next four months.

If you ever wish to return to Singapore, even in transit, I would strongly recommend engaging an immigration lawyer and applying for a visa instead of simply rocking up and hoping for the best.

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    I'd say the grinder is definitely a banned item as it has no other purpose than to prepare a controlled substance for consumption (and will likely have traces of said controlled substance on it, thus at least in theory placing the holder in possession of (a miniscule amount of) said substance as well.
    – jwenting
    Mar 10 at 13:40
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    @jwenting grinders intended for use with cannabis are often marketed as spice grinders, something they're perfectly good at. In principle, someone keen on using freshly-ground spices rather than preprepared powders might have legitimate use for such a device even in Singapore
    – Tristan
    Mar 10 at 15:11
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    I liked this answer, it is objective and sticks to the facts only. Some of the other answers have a vaguely reproachful tone, and they overstress supposed big negative consequences (you will never be able to travel to any other country, and consider you lucky they didn't execute you!). That's too much, in my opinion. Mar 10 at 18:41
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Like everyone said in the comments, don't ever try to return to Singapore, at least not without getting a specialized lawyer in Singapore's law (the embassy may have a list of such lawyers).

If you don't have the proper authorization/rehabilitation, you will encounter a whole lot of trouble (according to this site, you may risk 1-3years in jail (likely on top of your existing offense) and up to S$6000 (~4000€)).

The fact you committed drug offense and they deported you, may bar you, from entering some countries (

  • US : Commiting a drug violation renders you inelligible under INA section 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II) for life (source)

  • Canada : Renders illegible someone that has criminal or immigration-related offenses for at least 5 years and until they get the appropriate waiver (source)

  • UK : The UK doesn't outright ban criminals from getting a Visa, but the officer will look very suspiciously at the application

It goes with sense that you aren't eligible for a single visa waiver program anymore

...)

Again, it can depends widely on what exact grounds they deported you... But the simple fact of being deported will make you have a lot of trouble to get visas...

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    Denied entry isn't quite the same as deported, but this is all broadly good
    – AakashM
    Mar 9 at 11:09
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    212(a)(2)(A) is about criminal convictions, the Canada and UK rules sound similar, the link is about deportation, not refusal of entry. Given Singapore's reputation, caution is warranted but it's unclear from the facts in the question whether any of this applies in this case. In particular, the OP does not mention any criminal case nor having been found in possession of any illegal substances. Are you saying that being intoxicated or carrying drug paraphernalia in Singapore is treated as a drug offense? Why was the OP sent back instead of being prosecuted?
    – Relaxed
    Mar 9 at 17:14
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    @Relaxed, I mostly agree with you, but at the US border just admitting to illegal drug use in even the long distant past is sufficient to get a ban and a lifetime of applying for waivers. This is one of the very rare topics where lying to an immigration officer might be worth considering if one is very sure that no contradictory record exists but, unfortunately, for the OP such a record now exists.
    – Dennis
    Mar 9 at 19:19
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    Only what would be a indictable (incl. mixed) offences in Canada committed outside Canada causes inadmissibility without a conviction (if there are convictions two separate summary offences can also lead to inadmissibility). But this all depends on exactly how OP was processed so further speculation is probably without much use without more information.
    – xngtng
    Mar 9 at 19:31
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    Also, the word “may” is in itself confusing and probably not in the right place. The rules do not leave much room of discretion or interpretation. If you are have in fact committed a drug offense under the meaning of 212(a)(2)(A) then you are in fact ineligible, it's not a possibility but a certainty, at least legally. In this case, it's inaccurate to say that you “may” be barred from entering the US. On the other hand, you seem to take it for granted that the OP did commit a drug offence. That's possible but not obvious and that's what I was asking about.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 10 at 0:06

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