Move to Cambodia
Newsflash: he actually doesn’t know the difference between Class As.
Many expats find the temptation to take drugs in Cambodia irresistible, and their grim end is usually captured for posterity in the pages of the Koh Santepheap Daily, a Khmer newspaper that delights in publishing gory post-mortem photos, especially when a foreigner is involved.
Expats are offered drugs all over Cambodia, particularly in Phnom Penh’s Riverside neighborhood. The purveyors usually start by offering “Ganja, ganja.” If that doesn’t seem to appeal, they try again with “Ice? Cocaine? Heroin?” While this may seem like a drug-taker’s idea of heaven, it’s really not.
Both expats and tourists meet untimely ends quite regularly in Cambodia, often under mysterious circumstances that involve drugs. Heroin is much cheaper in Cambodia than cocaine, so it is often used to cut cocaine or sold in its stead. So when abusers rack up a big line of what they think is cocaine, they may quickly find themselves unconscious. The unreliability of Cambodian information applies to drugs as much as to everything else. A tuk tuk driver will tell you he knows exactly where you are going and end up lost for an hour, so it’s unrealistic to expect this same tuk tuk driver to know the difference between various Class A substances.
It’s also important to remember that overdoses in Cambodia more often result in deaths than in the West because of the poor medical care available here.
While it’s true that marijuana is semi-legal in Cambodia, the exceptions to the laws against marijuana possession apply only to Cambodians, who are allowed to grow a few plants for cooking–the herb is traditionally used in Khmer cuisine. The marijuana quality in Cambodia is quite poor compared to what’s grown in the West, but it’s undeniably cheap. Foreigners are rarely prosecuted for small amounts of marijuana, but expect to pay a few bribes if you do get caught.
Still, that’s better than dealing with Cambodia’s draconian laws regarding harder drugs. While the country may seem like a druggie free-for-all, dozens of foreigners locked up in Prey Sar prison would beg to disagree. They’d also beg you to know better than to mess with drugs in Cambodia. The situation here is quite different than it is at home, and the fear of ending up dead or crammed into a sweaty, overcrowded cell with 30 shirtless Cambodian men should–along with Cambodia’s ridiculously low alcohol prices–persuade you to stick to the bars instead.
For those who are looking for help with an alcohol or substance abuse problem, it’s probably no surprise that rehabilitation options in Cambodia are sub-par. However, there are English-language meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville. Contact Alcoholics Anonymous Cambodia for more information.
This is an excerpt from Move to Cambodia: A guide to living and working in the Kingdom of Wonder. To learn more about 100+ topics that pertain to Cambodia expats, please consider buying the book.
- Where to live in Cambodia
- Phnom Penh
- Where to live in Phnom Penh
- Siem Reap
- Kep and Kampot
- The Cambodian provinces
- Phnom Penh
- Homes and apartments
- Long-term hotels and guesthouses
- Finding a shared apartment
- Finding your own apartment
- Buying property in Cambodia
- Electricity and water
- Internet and cable
- Hiring household staff
- What to do when you first arrive
- Banking in Cambodia
- How to get a phone and SIM card
- Receiving mail in Cambodia
- Sending mail in Cambodia
- Getting a post office box
- Getting around by tuk tuk
- Getting around by moto taxi
- Driving and traffic
- Getting a Cambodian driving license
- Cambodian road safety
- Dealing with the police
- Long-distance buses
- Cambodia international and domestic flights
- Religious organizations and worship
- Love and family
- Sex and dating
- Gay culture
- Expat kids in Cambodia
- Schools in Cambodia
- Health and medical care
- Common ailments in Cambodia
- The state of medical care in Cambodia
- Doctors and clinics
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- Women’s health
- Dental care
- Eye care
- Health insurance and travel insurance
- Getting medical care outside of Cambodia
- Safety and security
- Robberies and bag-snatchings
- Hotel and apartment break-ins
- Emergency numbers and dealing with the police
- Recreational drugs in Cambodia
- Advice for women
- Clothing and dress
- Women and safety
- Where to live in Cambodia
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Information on why taking recreational drugs in Cambodia is particularly dangerous, especially when heroin and cocaine get confused!
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Cambodia: Prospect for a Budding Industry
With Cambodia’s traditional cash crops struggling to compete in global supply chains, the Kingdom could carve out a lucrative niche in commercial cannabis harvesting and exports – provided it acts fast to take advantage of the falling legal barriers, a Cambodia-based American innovator has argued.
Jim Plamondon, a former technical evangelist for Microsoft, said cannabis, the flowering plant that produces marijuana, was a potential goldmine for the Kingdom’s agricultural sector, which employs two-thirds of the country’s workforce.
He said US elections earlier this month were a tipping point, with more than half of the 50 US states having now legalised marijuana for medical use, such as treatment of glaucoma, and seven states legalising it for recreational use.
Want to get high abroad? There’s a travel guide for that
From Singapore: “Try wearing clothes that are marijuana related e.g. pictures of weed leaves etc.”
From Cape Town, South Africa: “I bought one bankie, and was caught by police. . . . African prisons SUX. So stay away from them.”
From Baghdad, Iraq: “Go up to most any civilian military contractor, at a good time, and just ask!”
For those who enjoy sampling the local grass as much as other travelers seek out regional wines or craft beers, the world has many welcoming corners.
Cannabis Worth $7m Found Inside Cambodian Coffee
The Cambodian police showed off their latest haul earlier this week as they paraded around 1.5 tonnes of marijuana that had an estimated street value of nearly $7m.
Rightly pleased with themselves, this was another victory for the police force who are currently ploughing resources into an ongoing operation to crackdown and eradicate the drugs trade in the country.
General Khieu Samon, the head of the interior ministry’s anti-drug office, said that the haul had been seized in Cambodia’s capital city Phnom Penh and that a number of Cambodian nations had been arrested.
Massive Cambodian Marijuana Bust: Police Take $7M Worth Of Pot Smuggled In From Laos
About $7 million worth of marijuana stuffed into coffee bags has been seized by police in Cambodia as the country tries to crackdown on the drug, according to the Associated Press. The 1.5 tons of marijuana confiscated during a series of raids is the largest haul police have made since the crackdown began 15 years ago.
Cambodia has a complicated relationship with cannabis.
Cambodia has a complicated relationship with cannabis. While it’s technically illegal, the authorities make exceptions for traditional and medicinal use. But now with a global trend away from prohibition, some suggest it’s high time the government here followed suit
As farmers across Cambodia take to their fields this month in anticipation of the rainy season, in a sleepy village in Battambang’s Moung Ruessei district, some are sowing a crop alongside their rice and cassava that’s just as traditional but much more controversial.
“Here, ganja is just like in Jamaica,” said Ratanak*, a 42-year-old farmer, after inhaling a lungful of thick, pungent cannabis smoke from a bamboo water pipe.
Baker’s Dozen: 13 Places to Celebrate 420
San Rafael High School’s claims to fame include adult actress Nikki Tyler and Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian” video, but the California campus is best known as the alleged birthplace of 420. Back in 1971, five classmates sought a hidden cannabis crop in the Point Reyes Peninsula, and 420 served as the code word for the search and their 4:20 p.m. meeting time. The legend may or may not be historically accurate, but 420 is definitely the preeminent counterculture holiday with annual cannabis celebrations on April 20. On the fifty shades of green scale, 420 ranks up there with St. Patty’s and Earth Day, and travelers can celebrate with cities to visit, things to do and places to munch.
Punta del Este, Uruguay
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