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Understand the Thai Cannabis Ecosystem with 4 Questions

7 Mins read

What is HighThailand’s mission? How do you help Thai cannabis ecosystem?

Our mission, at a high level, is to be part of and contribute to a uniquely identifiable, fully developed  and socially and environmentally responsible Thai cannabis culture. HighThailand is made of volunteer individuals who love and are passionate about cannabis and who care deeply about creating a sustainable environment where people are free to use the plant as they see fit within the boundaries of proper cannabis education.

It is not clear how we got to this wild west period of cannabis de-regulation. What is clear is: (a) cannabis regulatory restrictions are imminent; and (b) hysterical anti-cannabis individuals would like to impose the strictest of regulations.

We are open to and appreciate that cannabis will be regulated. We hope the regulations are liberal with common sense restrictions, and provisions governing quality control of the plant and products. The strongest argument for a liberal cannabis policy is to show that the plant is indeed safe, positive and productive for society, and that users are already self regulating. In other words, stringent regulations are unnecessary when cannabis users and the whole ecosystem takes these matters into their own capable hands.   

This is where our immediate mission comes to play: we want to be Thailand’s most professional and trusted resource on all matters of cannabis information and education. This includes helping our readers identify high quality dispensaries; education on the different ways to use cannabis, different forms of cannabis, the wide spectrum of cannabis benefits and its detriments, and the history of cannabis in Thailand; and updates on social activities and regulatory activities concerning the plant.

By providing trustworthy, accurate and pertinent information we can help fill an education deficit which exists in Thailand regarding cannabis. Anti-cannabis activists wield their ignorance as a weapon, coming up with outlandish and ridiculous claims and falsehoods regarding cannabis and its use.  We aim to provide knowledge and facts to shield against such ignorance.

HighThailand also want to lay the building blocks of our local cannabis culture so that more inexperienced and future users can learn how to use cannabis responsibly and properly and develop and maintain the sustainable nature of the market. Many people have negative perceptions regarding cannabis because their first (and sometimes only) experience was unpleasant. Education regarding proper use, and introductions on safe beginner use, can help those beginners learn how to have positive experiences and how to responsibly use the plant for its many purposes. At the same time, new users can understand their own relationship to the wider cannabis ecosystem, and become positive participants in Thai cannabis culture.

How do you see the current state of cannabis market now?

The market is both surreal and fascinating. Who would have thought that the most unregulated and freely traded good in Thailand is cannabis? We are currently in an environment where supply and demand are the only factors shaping the cannabis market here, with little outside interference for now.

It is no longer taboo, scandalous or shameful to smoke weed.  Its mainstream, its sexy, and so many people are doing it for the first time. Dispensaries are popping up everywhere and are reflecting the different and diverse segments of society who want to get their hands on cannabis. One of the amazing things about writing for HighThailand is that I get to meet and interview so many of the personalities behind the dispensaries and the industry. The professionalism and medical approach of Dr. Green Bangkok; the urban entrepreneurial energy of FourTwenty Thailand; the laid back casual vibe of FatBuds Weed Shop; and the high energy of Weed Express are just a small example of the so many cannabis personalities in our nascent market. I can’t wait to get to know more shops, more folks and more of our local cannabis personalities!

 Hiso, relaxed stoner, Thai hip hop, MedMen wannabe, celebrity and advocate driven, neighborhood dive style.  The one thing that all these dispensaries have in common is folks who love and are passionate about cannabis and who want to spread this passion about in a positive manner.

On the other hand, there are some market forces which are less than positive. We see the influx of imported cannabis in the market to supply demand which is currently not locally met. We also see, and have seen from the pre-decriminalization era, the influence and participation of actors who are motivated purely by profit with little regard for cannabis or ultimately how it is used.  HighThailand by no means is taking a stand against capitalism or against aspirations to make a profit.  However, we believe that those who do not love cannabis cannot understand it. Those who do not understand cannabis will not thrive in the market and ultimately will be less successful.  A passionless but technically perfect performance of a Mozart piano concerto is inferior to that played with feeling, love and appreciation.  Such is cannabis, corporate ability without love of the plant is an inferior state.

As previously mentioned, our goal is to provide information and knowledge.  To this end we hope that by providing information about dispensary locations and owners, Thai farmers, best growing practices and effects of the bud, we will help create and maintain an educated “demand”.  A demand that has a connection and appreciation for local and high quality goods, for responsible and ethical practices, and that wants a “supply” which is diverse in offering and personality.  Cannabis is not one size fits all.  It should not turn into over-roasted coffee for the masses.   

HighThailand sees a market full of opportunity with responsible members of the cannabis community leading the market in an ethical, sustainable and diverse direction.  We certainly are cheering for, advocating and supporting these positive actors, and hope that they see HighThailand as an ally and a resource.

Do you think that supporting local Thai farmers is important?

We live in Thailand because we love this country and its people.  We use cannabis because we love its effects and the way it enhances our lives and everything we do. To have these two loves intertwined in such an intimate way is really a dream come true. It is natural that one should support the other, and the best way to support a sustained Thai cannabis culture, is to support the Thai farmer: The individual who can make this all happen.

Imported cannabis found in the market is not the best quality and is often compressed and older.  Indeed, sellers cite the high demand of the market, not the quality of imported bud, when defending the purchase of imported weed. There is no question that Thai farmers will be able to produce quality, they already are.  But we will need to wait for local supply to catch up with the great demand.

Dr. Green (of Dr. Green Bangkok) pointed the following out to me: “the days after cannabis became decriminalized, tens, if not hundreds, of dispensaries opened overnight with high quality cannabis.  Some of it came from licensed growers, much of it came from the once illicit market, and more was imported. Most farmers and cultivators did not have chance to plan for June 9 and did not have available product. We have not yet seen the first “legal harvest” of cannabis. We’ve seen previews and we know it can be really great.  The first significant harvests of legal local weed should be in the next month or so.  This will be an incredibly exciting time to sample what is available here and experience the next step in our local sustainable market and culture.”

Cannabis has a long established history of cultivation and use in Thailand, with landraces such as Wild Thai contributing to the lineage of some of the great strains we all smoke and love. There are currently several high quality farmers and cultivators growing excellent weed in Thailand.  There are even more farmers and cultivators who are increasing their appreciation and ability to grow high quality cannabis here in Thailand—who are in turn supported by many of the dispensaries and the personalities behind them. Thailand has an important, set and established place in both the historic and contemporary world of cannabis. The best way to support and develop Thailand’s well deserved place in the cannabis universe is by supporting and developing local farmers.

If illicit imported cannabis dominates the market in the future, we should all be ashamed. As long as Thai farmers provide high quality buds, and HighThailand knows they will, there is no market or moral reason why imported cannabis should be a factor. You don’t bring sand to the desert; and you don’t bring weed to Thailand.

Today after a lunch in Asoke, my friends and I walked into a dispensary, purchased a gram of Shining Silver Haze, rolled it up and smoked it. It was the perfect combination of friends, geography and cannabis.  It doesn’t get any better than this. I personally would like to thank the Thai cannabis farming community for my afternoon and my access to their beautiful buds.

Do think that HighThailand will help to break the stigma and show Thailand that cannabis can be enjoyed by everybody?  If so, how?

I am not sure that HighThailand will be the ones to break the stigma.  If anything, we are allied with and we support those folks who are breaking the stigma.  We appreciate the support of the OG users, dispensary owners and readers who already accept cannabis and all its wonders.  We also have newer and novice users who are comfortably gaining more cannabis experience and sharing it. We are eager to support them and help them maintain positive and responsible experiences. We want all users: historic, casual, medicinal and new users to have positive experiences which they can share with their loved ones. We want Thai society to look into the face of Thai cannabis culture and see something good, beautiful, sustainable which contributes to the better of all.

Ultimately it is the development of positive cannabis culture which will break the stigma and sway public opinion.  We will never sway those hysterical individuals who believe the sky will fall now that cannabis is legal and repeat the histrionics of dubious Facebook posts. But we can help support positive cannabis culture and positive cannabis experiences. Such experiences will prove that cannabis is here to stay as a supportive element of both the individual and society.     

HighThailand is a tool dedicated to cannabis users in Thailand. The best way we can assuage the negative stigma is by strengthening users with information, strengthening the community with our support, and illuminating the truth and exposing falsehoods.

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About author
Mendel Menachem is professional reviewer, and author, truly a Weed Professor.
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