Russia: Cannabis gummy bears in luggage: Foreign Office confirms arrest of German in Saint Petersburg

A 38-year-old German was arrested at the airport in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg because he had gummy bears containing cannabis in his luggage.

Russia: Cannabis gummy bears in luggage: Foreign Office confirms arrest of German in Saint Petersburg

A 38-year-old German was arrested at the airport in the Russian city of Saint Petersburg because he had gummy bears containing cannabis in his luggage. The Foreign Office confirmed the arrest. The traveler is being looked after consularly and the German authorities are in contact with his lawyers, said a spokesman for the Foreign Office in Berlin on Wednesday. He did not want to comment on details of the case for data protection reasons.

Customs in the city of over a million people announced on Tuesday that a bag with six fruit gums weighing a total of 20 grams was found on the man when he entered Russia. A quick test showed that the sweets contained tetrahydrocannabinol - the main active ingredient in cannabis. The man had flown from Hamburg via Istanbul to St. Petersburg and wanted to meet a woman he had met online and travel through Russia. He bought the gummy bears in a specialist shop in Germany. He said they helped him sleep better on long journeys. The man was quoted as saying in Russian reports that he never had any problems with this at customs in other countries.

If convicted of drug possession, he could face up to seven years in prison in Russia, the RBC newspaper reported.

The case is reminiscent of US basketball player Brittney Griner, who was arrested in Russia in 2022. She was sentenced to nine years in prison for drug smuggling, but was then exchanged for a Russian arms dealer imprisoned in the United States. Conjectures that the German's arrest could be a similar case are "purely speculative," said the Foreign Office spokesman in response to a question. Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport in February 2022 after e-cigarette cartridges containing small amounts of cannabis oil were found in her luggage. At the end of 2022, after months of imprisonment, Griner was released in exchange for a Russian arms dealer imprisoned in the USA.

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