Tim Wilson, a 25-year-old chemical engineering student at the Colorado School of Mines, is facing up to 10 years in Japanese prison because a friend sent him a care package with marijuana-infused treats, The Denver Post reports. Wilson has remained jailed in Japan since August.
According to 9News, Wilson, a registered medical marijuana patient, was attending Tohuku University in Sendai, Japan as an exchange student and volunteering with the country's earthquake relief efforts when he was arrested in August. The three pot-infused peanut butter cookies and four "Cheeba Chews" that Wilson's friend sent never arrived at Wilson's doorstep, instead Japanese officials seized the packaged in June and started an investigation that ended with Wilson's arrest on Aug. 3.
Unfortunately for Wilson, Japan's drug laws are some of the strictest in the world. According to the U.S. Department of State website:
Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illgal drugs, including marijuana, are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and fines. In most drug cases, suspects are detained and barred from receiving visitors or corresponding with anyone other than a lawyer or a U.S. consular officer until after indictment. Solitary confinement is common.
Wilson denied that he had any knowledge of the package being sent to him, but Westword reports that Japanese officials point to an email where Wilson allegedly says it "would be a good idea" to send the marijuana snacks overseas. Wilson's trial has been delayed three times so far, according to Wilson's father, and could possibly begin sometime in January, at the earliest.