Weed, Safer Than Alcohol in Qatar
Estimated 5-minute read
The world cup in Qatar has just started and since it is the first time in history where an Arab country is the host, there are too many doubts. For western cultures, Arab norms are unknown. From a western perspective the Arabian Peninsula is another world. The cultural differences are abysmal.
One of the causes of misinformation and little knowledge of these exuberant countries is that 50 years ago nobody knew of its existence. Although they are very rich in history and culture, the reason we have seen more influence of the Muslim states is as we already know, the discovery of petroleum deposits which strengthened the dominance and collaboration between these super rich states.
Stigmatization is another factor that prevents real knowledge about what Muslim culture is like. Many people believe that the Arabian peninsula is reduced to sand dunes and camels. The limited perspective and government influence to point out a common enemy as a state control tool for interventions and justification of wars as the United States did with this region for years, justified by the 9/11 attacks.
That's why for years the media and even the Hollywood industry satirized the Arab world to the point that many do not really know what it is like outside of poor stereotypes. People now know Qatar is a super-rich country and developed country, however many think their ideas and laws are radical and dangerous. Of course, for an average American clothing regulations may seem radical, however even the bible wisely says, wherever you go do what you see. It is not that hard or exotic just to respect other cultures.
Alcohol in Qatar
Smoking weed is illegal in Qatar as well in many other countries. However, the substance that steals the spotlight is alcohol. Alcohol is prohibited by the Koran (Quran: central religious text of Islam) and there's no illegality but rigorous regulations with much more severe rules toward alcohol than to marijuana.
Qatari law stipulates that only the liquor license holders that meet a certain income threshold are permitted to purchase alcoholic drinks. There's only one company that can sell and distribute alcohol and is the Qatar Distribution Company (QDC), a subsidiary of Qatar Airways, owned by the Qatari government.
In Qatar's 2022 World Cup, alcohol won’t be for sale even inside stadiums during the soccer matches or for tourists. “While alcohol will be available to those who want to drink in designated areas, it will not be openly available on the streets.” Qatar World Cup CEO, Naser Al Khater.
There are headlines that in a mocking tone say that alcohol is allowed but it must not be noticed. As we already mentioned, the areas to drink alcohol are designated. The curious thing is that you can drink, but not in excess. The consequences of being drunk on the street range from dines, imprisonment and deportation.
The delicate thing about alcohol is that it is an inhibitor to break other strict rules. For example:
- Modest dressing codes, drunk you might not care.
- Sexual intercourse outside marriage is illegal if you are drunk you might get romantic.
- Homosexuality is criminalized, so if you are a gay and drunk, you are in trouble.
That is why it would be better to avoid alcohol. It is already something highly regulated, if you add that it encourages you to do the opposite of what you should do in conclusion, look for other alternatives to have fun. The best, marijuana. Now I will tell you why it is better and safer.
Weed in Qatar
Why I’d rather be found out with a joint by a Qatari officer than found out drunk. Most of Muslim countries have been committed for years to not to consume alcohol. This is what their religion dictates, which is a pillar for the law. However, marijuana was bypassed. For many years in Arabs regions, the consumption of marijuana extracts, especially hashish, was extremely normal.
The elders used to get together and smoke hashish. And although marijuana is illegal, it is less demonized than alcohol due to its relationship with the Arabs in the past. Here, the new generations also play their role, and the acceptance and standardization continue to rise.
I'm not telling you that Qatar is 4:20 friendly, but according to locals, the law is permissive with marijuana and people found out in possession of weed normally are sanctioned with a warning. But according to the media, the penalties for drug possession even in small amounts, range from several years in prison to death penalty.
And this is where I emphasize that in occident we believe that it is possible to die from smoking weed or drinking alcohol. There are already memes of people who will be flogged for getting drunk. I think it's overstated, on the other hand, of course if you try to smuggle drugs you might go to prison for years.
Locals state that police are relaxed when it comes to weed. But remember you are a foreigner there, so always stay sharp. For me it would be like any place where marijuana is illegal. The bad thing is that to bribe a Qatari policeman I don't have millions yet.
While doing this research I realized that the sanctions Qatar may impose are described in a radical and totalitarian way. But I think it is that occident is not able to trust or promote Arab culture. Stereotypes generate skepticism and sensational press dramatizes the real context.
The Muslim culture is divided in so many factions. So generalizing is ridiculous. As I have commented, the penalties are very dramatized. Who knows why the authorities continue to polarize and divide people.
DISCLAIMER: Remember cannabis consumption is still an illegal action in Qatar and many Arabic countries. It's your own responsibility to use any substance correctly, and only in the places and under the circumstances where it isn't penalized legally. All articles by HØJ are 100% informative and for entertainment purposes, don’t even think about consuming marijuana in risky situations.