Possession or consumption of cannabis in Singapore can result in a maximum of 10 years in prison, with a possible fine of S$20,000, as well as caning, under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Trafficking, import or export of more than 500 grams may result in the death penalty.
In 2016, a Straits Times article reported that there were 252 new drug cases by the National Addictions Management Service in the previous year involving people aged below 30, compared with 136 in 2014, further citing that such "cases of young people influenced by growing acceptance of drug overseas [is] a worrying trend". MP Christopher de Souza, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs and Law later stated that "to decriminalise the recreational consumption of cannabis is a foolish proposal. It entrenches a higher tolerance for drugs in community."
However, the Singapore's National Research Foundation (NRF) announced on January 10, 2018 that it would develop synthetic cannabinoids, or chemical compounds found in the marijuana plant, as part of a broader S$25 million ($19 million) investment by the body into synthetic biology. The initiative is intended to boost Singapore's push to develop a “bio-based economy,” and grow new industries and create jobs in a sustainable way.
Cannabis was likely introduced to Singapore by immigrant laborers from India, who used cannabis in their homeland. This origin is witnessed by the use of the Indian term ganja to label cannabis in Singapore. Cannabis was banned in Singapore in 1870, during the British colonial period.
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- Nanthawan Bunyapraphatsō̜n (1999). Medicinal and poisonous plants. Backhuys Publishers. p. 169. ISBN 978-90-5782-042-7.