Customs different attitudes

I was just reading on a UK newspaper website, that UK customs agents have been advised NOT to detain people with ‘personal use’ quantities of Cannabis (under their class B rules & other drugs in this classification). It says that customs agents are just giving warnings. I guess they know they are fighting a losing battle, when several countries in EU & now two states in USA have either decrim. or legalised the drug.

I would like to add a few personal stories:

1) about a decade ago, I travelled to UK & also spent a few days, in Amsterdam (including visiting their ‘coffeeshops’). I travelled back to London on the ‘Eurostar’ train. As the train was passing through Belgium (outside Holland) a couple of men started walking through the carriage. One approached & showed me his customs badge. After he established, that I spoke English & had just been to Amsterdam, he asked whether I had purchased any illegal drugs (ie cannabis) & was I carrying any out of Holland. I replied that I had ‘nothing to declare’. He then asked me to turn out my pockets & open a pouch/bag strapped around my waist. I happily complied (only passport & money). He then asked if I had any other luggage. I said I had a backpack in the over head rack. He again asked whether I had anything ‘stashed’ in it. I assured him; “No Sir”. He then replied “thank-you Sir” & continued on his way. I did notice that he did ask another passenger to open his luggage. (maybe they just do a few random ‘spot-checks’ for their records ?) At the customs counter in London, I was just asked to show my passport & was on my way.. NO check at all. I have travelled to UK twice & don’t remember seeing ‘drug dogs’ either time at Heathrow or other airports.

2) I have also travelled to Indonesia, India & Nepal.. I do not remember, ever being searched or even seeing a ‘drug dog’ at any of their airports or customs counters !

3) I have travelled between Sydney Australia & Auckland NZ on several occasions. I have seen ‘drug dogs’ often, especially in Auckland. I once had a smoke, the day before travelling back to NZ, when I arrived at the airport.. a customs man with a dog pulled me aside for a ‘positive detection’. I was then taken to a room & strip searched, followed by all my bags & clothes being thoroughly searched & x-rayed. After they found nothing, I was told that ‘for future reference, the dogs can smell ‘DRUGS’ (esp. cannabis) on you for up to 3 days & advised to keep this in mind. The attitude of NZ customs was totally different to UK & EU. More like the ‘nazi-style’ stories you sometimes hear about in Asia.. then again Aotearoa/NZ still pushes a very strict zero-tolerance/prohibitionist regime !!

I recognise that every country has its own legal jurisdiction, BUT in regard to Drug law.. we are mostly bound by the same UN convention & Aotearoa/NZ follows the UK, Westminister parliamentary model. I guess it actually says more about the ‘psyche’/ENTRENCHED attitudes of the NZ law-makers & their ENFORCERS ?!

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