Is CBD Oil Legal In Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia has earned a reputation as one of the strictest governments in terms of drug regulation. Visitors flying into the Riyadh airport are greeted with warnings of death to drug traffickers. Beheadings are still sanctioned punishment for many crimes, including drug offenses.
In fact, Saudi Arabia kicked off the new year with several beheadings for drug crimes. Foreigners and locals alike are given decades-long sentences for even tiny amounts of drugs.
But what about non-psychoactive substances with proven health benefits? Is CBD oil legal in Saudi Arabia?
Legal Status of Cannabis in Saudi Arabia
Marijuana is totally illegal in Saudi Arabia and will remain so for the foreseeable future. As a fundamentally conservative state where religious, conservative values hold great value, a negative attitude towards drugs are the norm.
Currently, Saudi Arabian law does not distinguish between marijuana, which contains the psychoactive compound THC, from products like CBD oil made from industrial hemp which do not produce a “high”. The same penalties apply across the board.
CBD oil operates in a gray area internationally. Many companies offer to ship their products across borders, including Saudi Arabia. Sometimes this may work without problems, the oil is delivered, and the customer is happy. However, if the authorities happen to catch the shipment, there may be serious legal ramifications.
Punishment for Marijuana Possession in Saudi Arabia
Penalties for possession in Saudi Arabia are severe enough that the U.S. State Department makes special note of it in its travel advisory. First-time offenders in the Kingdom are usually given 6-month prison terms with whipping often included. Repeat offenders get progressively longer prison terms, with execution by beheading as the ultimate punishment.
The Future of Cannabis in Saudi Arabia
Some progressive reforms such as women voting in local elections and being able to drive have prompted speculation that Saudi Arabia is modernizing its archaic legal and cultural structure.
The alleged medical evidence of CBD oil’s claimed miraculous treatment of chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and other debilitating conditions are difficult to ignore, so it is likely that internal pressure from the Saudi medical establishment as well as international pressure from human rights groups may soften the hardline historical approach to drug regulation that has been the hallmark of Saudi drug enforcement.
Other countries in the region like Jordan and Morocco have taken steps toward legalization in recent years, which may show promise for future changes in Saudi Arabia. Only time will tell.
Smuggling any marijuana products, including CBD oil, into Saudi Arabia is a risky venture. Public outcry, the widespread availability of information online proving the benefits of CBD oil, and international campaigns could move the needle on Saudi Arabia’s legal stance in the future, but for now, users should exercise extreme caution buying, selling, and using CBD oil in the Kingdom.