The Supreme People’s Procuratorate March 4 asked the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department (AID), part of the General Department of Vietnam Customs, to decide whether a recent import of 18 tons of cannabis seeds is legal under local customs regulations.
If the shipment is found to be illegal, its value must then be determined to impose penalties on the involved parties. The AID must also trace the currently unknown origin of the batch. On October 13, 2008, import/export company Kdy Pte Ltd. completed import documentation for a shipment of 18 tons of marijuana plant seeds into Vietnam, which were then intended to be exported to a third country.
The Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, however, carried out an inspection of the batch only to find that cannabis seeds were not listed in Vietnam’s index of plant seeds or banned import items. Confusion then arose as to how to deal with the situation.
According to Vietnamese law, it is only illegal to stockpile, transport or sell cannabis plants, not seeds. Therefore, involved parties in the case would not be subject to punishment for trafficking narcotic drugs.
The Supreme People’s Procuratorate examined protocol according to the International Convention of Narcotic Drugs and considered scientific tests carried out by the Ministry of Public Security, and National Institute of Drug Quality Control; as well as a declaration by Aswani Haresh Chhalaram, director of Kdy Pte Ltd., Company, headquartered in Singapore.
However, the Procuratorate was unable to reach a definitive conclusion and thus transferred the case to the AID.
The city’s Department of Customs has proposed to the General Department of Vietnam Customs to destroy or re-export the seeds after drying them out to prevent plant growth.
The proposal is still under consideration by the General Department of Vietnam Customs.