Thailand’s “cannabis bonanza disappoints“, and has “alarmed some health experts” and the industry’s promise of a cash crop has gone “up in smoke“.
I know many Thais in cannabis who are not disappointed in the least. And the health experts who are “alarmed” must not be among the thousands who are researching cannabis medicine in every major university in Thailand — or those who are treating cannabis patients.
The media’s clear preference for fear-mongering over relating simple facts speaks to the eternal allure of propaganda. Propaganda raises eyebrows. It makes you afraid and judgemental of others. Most importantly, it keeps you reading. It will never go away as long as lazy journalists can rely on it as a shortcut to growing an audience.
Poor Farmer/ Rich Farmer
No one claimed – contrary to the suggestion in the story – that growing cannabis will make poor farmers rich.
Poor farmers almost never become rich farmers. Ever. Everyone knows this. Or everyone except Reuters knows this. Cannabis becoming a cash crop does not require that it make cannabis farmers rich. It means that with enough foreign direct investment, farming families can expect new agricultural jobs to come to rural areas.
Those areas can look forward to increased quality of life in general, with new roads and bridges, better plumbing, and employment opportunities that offer on-the-job training.
Imports Are A Benefit To The Receiving Country
Foreign investment is another area that the media gets upside down when talking about cannabis in Thailand.
The Reuters story parrots the complaint of some smaller growers in Thailand that weed from the US created an oversupply in the Thai market. The only reason importing cannabis is illegal is because of international prohibition undertaken by the Drug Enforcement Agency in the US.
The complainers, Reuters, and the DEA are of one voice on this: anyone from country A who sells cannabis to country B is a criminal. Of course, some countries have rejected international cannabis prohibition and freely import and export cannabis. Many are planning to do so soon.
The second fact that gets overlooked is that foreign growers who legally grow in Thailand have been exceedingly greedy. For the first several months after June 9, 2022, it was not uncommon to see quality indoors weed @ $30 USD per gram.
Remember, this is in a developing country with low production costs. Yet many smaller growers went right along with inflated prices at the beginning of the dispensary surge and kept them as high as possible throughout the year. Now the tourists are leaving and the people who live here are looking at the prices per gram and saying, “You’re joking, right?”
Rather than make hard adjustments to align with a new supply and demand curve, some just want to blame “the smugglers”.
It seems that what many foreign growers are mad about is not that poor farmers failed to get rich, but rather well-off foreign cultivators failed to rake in millions.
The only thing stopping Thai cannabis from becoming a prosperous, sustainable sector are anti-cannabis political forces and their mouthpieces in the international media.