china - A co-founder of the Cirque de Soleil formed the Cavalia equestrian ballet which has been performing in China. The BBC reported that two Canadians with Cavalia have been detained for smoking Marijuana and the company is trying to get them repatriated to Canada.

China doesn't view marijuana as a recreational drug

Marijuana and other drugs are frowned on in many Asian countries and penalties can be severe as the two Canadians discovered for themselves. China, in particular, takes a tough stance on drug use, and while the Western countries tend to view smoking marijuana as a harmless past-time, this attitude is not in any way universal.

While a spokesman for the Global Affairs of Canada did admit to the BBC that they are "providing consular services to two citizens who were detained in Beijing," for smoking marijuana they are not able to comment further due to privacy concerns. The spokesperson for Cavalia, Eric Paquette, also stressed the privacy of the two Canadians who were arrested for smoking marijuana in China.

Paquette told the BBC that, "This is a private matter. All I can tell you is that recently, Chinese representatives have contacted us to ask if we were willing to buy airplane tickets to quickly repatriate them to Canada, and of course, we are."

Marijuana trafficking, recreational use and the penalties in China

China is one of about nine Asian countries that have legislated drug trafficking and dealing in drugs as capital offenses.

Therefore, even those crimes that are considered to be minor in Western countries, such as the possession and consumption of marijuana for personal use is strictly frowned upon. Canadians live in a country where it is possible that by 2018 marijuana will be completely legal, but it is irresponsible to assume that what is OK back home is acceptable elsewhere. point out on their site that "marijuana is considered a narcotic under Section Seven of the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, Article 345." Vice tells us that it is downright "dangerous " and complicated to indulge in recreational drug use. While foreigners tend to spend a bit of time in jail before being deported and repatriated to where they came from, their Chinese associates who consume or supply recreational drugs can land up in prison.

Marijuana, foreigners, and respect for the rule of law

During an incident related to Vice, it was mentioned that after a party of people had smoked marijuana and played around with some mushrooms in Beijing, a police officer who boarded their bus shouted at the westerners saying, 'When you're in China, you should obey Chinese laws!' This is most certainly a reasonable request in any country in the world. Respect for the law is so often flouted by travelers, and in the day and age of instant information on the internet, there should be no excuse for it.

The Canadians who were arrested in China for smoking marijuana may have their privacy, but one has to wonder where they got that marijuana from?

They either had to have smuggled it into China or they purchased it from a supplier in Beijing. China would hardly be talking repatriation if the authorities had discovered smuggling had taken place, so one would have to think that these two Canadians should rather be reflecting on the possible severe consequences for their marijuana supplier in China.

China is tough on drugs, but just how tough are Canadian equestrians? Did they talk and who is paying the price for their recreational indulgence in marijuana?