German Citizen Arrested in Russia for Carrying Cannabis-Infused Gummy Bears: Another Case of Moscow’s Strict Stance on International Travelers

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Moscow’s strict stance on international travelers caught with cannabis on Russian soil has once again led to the arrest of a foreign citizen. This time, a German man found himself in custody after Russian authorities discovered cannabis-infused gummy bears in his luggage at Pulkovo Airport. Identified as 38-year-old Patrick Schobel, the man was detained late last month and is expected to remain in custody until at least March 15.

According to the Russian Federal Customs Service, Schobel had flown from Hamburg, Germany, to St. Petersburg via a connecting flight in Istanbul. The customs officer’s attention was drawn to a bag of gummy bears with the inscription ‘Fink Green Goldbears’ and an image of a cannabis leaf. Inside the bag, six black and brown gummy bears with a strong odor were found, weighing a total of 20 grams.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Christian Wagner, confirmed that a German national had been arrested in Russia, and the government has reached out to Schobel’s lawyers. The German citizen allegedly admitted to bringing 10 gummies from Germany and stated that he consumes them during flights for a restful sleep.

Although Germany legalized medical cannabis in 2017 and is set to allow adult use on April 1, the penalties for cannabis possession in Russia are significantly more severe. Schobel now faces up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to 1 million rubles ($10,920 USD) for his actions.

This incident is not isolated, as Russia has garnered attention for its strict treatment of travelers found with cannabis. In February 2022, American basketball player Brittney Griner was arrested in Russia for cannabis vape pens, resulting in a nine-year prison sentence. However, she was eventually saved through a prisoner swap. Currently, Russia and the United States are discussing another potential prisoner swap involving two U.S. citizens jailed in Russia.

This case once again highlights the confusion that travelers face regarding Russia’s drug laws and the severe penalties they can incur. As international visitors continue to be unaware or ignorant of these strict regulations, it is crucial for individuals to educate themselves about the legislation in foreign countries to avoid enduring severe legal consequences.