Medical Weed & Everything With It — In Thailand, Now.
Thanks for reading Thai Weed Weekly Newsletter, links we’ve collected over the week with thoughts you won’t find anywhere else (you may find the links on my X page, but the remarks below drill down from there)
The figure above is an uncanny representation of Thai medical weed. It fuses the cannabis leaf with DNA spirals, suggesting the interaction between plant and mind at the molecular level.
This Week’s Thai Med Weed Links
On its face, the latest from Bloomberg on Thai cannabis sounds terrible:
1. Srettha plans to rewrite laws to allow medical cannabis only
2. Landmark Thai decriminalization policy may be undone Are we reading a script for our amusement while we watch nothing change? Or is this really the end?
The new Prime Minister spoke very sternly about regulating cannabis for medicinal use only. When asked if he could compromise and find a middle ground for “leisure use”, he said “we will have to re-write the law so there’s no recreational use.”
And he also appeared on Bloomberg with a mind that appeared closed to compromise.
No attempt to make a clear argument for health outcomes or outcomes for anything. Just plain ignorance. How can this man sit next to Deputy PM Anutin, champion of cannabis, and not have some common sense rub off?
Stay with me because I’m suggesting that this statement is identical to statements made by Deputy Prime Minister Anutin, the champion of cannabis and leader of the party that ran on decriminalization.
The tone is all that differs. In both cases, medical use has never been defined. Never. In any way.
Anutin’s position has been that the system as it stands is optimal, as long as more fundamental regulations are introduced to protect consumers against tainted products and to have clear punishments for breaking clear laws.
Anutin wants the latest version of the Cannabis Act re-introduced as is. Simple. The Prime Minister is the only one talking about re-writing the Act in any significant way.
If the Prime Minister is serious about major impactful changes to the Cannabis Act, I would think that requires picking a fight with Anutin. Unwise, to be sure.
I know that every time Anutin has had the opportunity to explain that medical cannabis is in fact much more restrictive than what we see today, he has pivoted, and talked instead about the importance of destigmatizing cannabis and not abusing it.
I know that every time a political opponent accused him of being irresponsible in delisting cannabis and permitting dispensaries to receive licenses, he objected in strong terms.
He has always said his approach was appropriate and believes now that the Cannabis Act should just be made official and the industry should carry on growing into the cannabis hub of Asia.
Only Anutin can save us now.
When I spoke with him on my podcast, Thames, the President of The Phuket Cannabis Association, said something that I’ve thought about a lot. He said, “Whenever anyone asks me about the future of legalization in Thailand, I just smile and say the answer is to do it the right way now, so they have no excuse to take the plant away from the people.”
Thames is leading by example in this case, as he advises all conscious cannabis consumers in Thailand to do. The cannabis association he started is just now revving up its promotions of this year’s cannabis cup on the 1st and 2nd of December.
I am excited that Cannabox Town Hall, is partnering with the PCA in a broad range of media-related ways. Cannabox the delivery app, as you regular readers know, is the only cannabis delivery system in Thailand that handles everything online for consumers to purchase from their favorite, fully licensed dispensaries.
We also do what this is: write blog posts, make videos and photo essays, publish guides, host our own events and partner with others. And I’m a co-founder.
There is a great video at the Cannabis Cup site and all the vital statistics you will need to plan to attend.
I will quickly say that the strapline for this year’s event is brilliant, given the demagoguery around “recreational use”. It’s: Holistic Health; Holistic High.
Smart. This is a fine and simple example of how Thai cannabis is adapting to a medical cannabis regime by expanding the concept of medicine, per the practice of traditional medicine doctors for thousands of years.
The other aspect of the event that imbues me with hope for the future for Thailand and for Asia is its emphasis on families and pets.
There is a flood of workshops on cannabis and wellness, yoga and other training sessions and meditation, as well as hundreds of booths of new cannabis products and yes, tables and tables of the most chronic green, hosted by enlightened budtenders.
I have the honor of being one of the judges this year and it has left me with a puzzle. If I consume cannabis to judge it in a competition, that could hardly be considered “recreational” right? It’s work. And work is the opposite of recreation, right. But what if you really, really like your work? But the action does not fall under medical either. I am not in an experiment. I am judging contestants in a competition.
How does any of this make sense? But I digress.
Massage stations and clearly marked consumption areas where kids are not permitted, and plastic ball play fields for the kids to play under strict supervision. Live music including musicians from around the south of Thailand playing within a variety of musical traditions.
There is a solution: my list of 8 policy proposals that can let Anutin & Srettha play nice while Thai cannabis continues to flourish. The anti-cannabis crowd is looking for a way to save face after their campaigns of falsifications, fear-mongering and posturing. They have dressed themselves as the destroyers of the great demon-weed after all.
I make 8 proposals that could give the Phue Thai cannabis demagogues a way out and keep the cannabis industry thriving yet give those who are suffering acute cannabis stigma after a campaign season of horror stories.
Thai news captures Deputy Prime Minister Anutin’s most recent refusal to say that there is anything wrong with the current cannabis status quo, save a few official regulations that are already in the Cannabis Act. Then he blames his fellow politicians for spreading lies. What is not to like about this guy?:
He said the Bhumjaithai Party will resubmit the bill to the current parliament in order to promote cannabis for its medical, health and economic benefits.
Minister Anutin said the discourse surrounding cannabis legalization has become muddied with debates over unregulated usage. He has therefore asked all sides to stop spreading this misconception.
The government’s policy under the Ministry of Interior is reintroducing the CEO Governor concept for provincial administration. The Interior Minister said this working concept, which positions provincial governors as the CEO of each province, would improve the agility of local administrations and public services.
The CEO Governor concept is central to the role of the Department of Thai Traditional Medicine. To get rid of it would shake up the entire chain of command regarding the control of cannabis as a traditional herb. For more on this, see my story on Thai traditional medicine practitioners as the tip of the spear of cannabis law enforcement.
In the first paragraph of this apparently breaking news, we find a sloppy little lie:
Last year, Thailand became the first country in Southeast Asia to decriminalise cannabis, but in the absence of specific measures, the government had to hastily issue rules to prevent its unchecked use, particularly among children.
At no time did the government have to issue rules to prevent cannabis’ unchecked use among children or anyone else.
The rate of underage cannabis use has gone down – a great deal – wherever cannabis has been legalized. No one has any statistics or patience even to support this claim or justify major action with an argument.
There are no arguments to be found. Just a new prime minister and a few of his colleagues who swore to save their rural populations from the scourge of cannabis about which they did not know. So now they have drafted a law that permits only medical weed, they say. Alright, what are the major points? So far, it only reifies the measures already in place.
Below is more evidence for my fabricated drama to keep cannabis money rolling in while giving the fake anti-cannabis pols in the Phue Thai party a way out. This is the big bad law:
The draft law, which consolidates measures against public use that the government now relies on to rein in misbehavior, is expected to take a year to finalize and pass.
It covers permits for growing plants, sales and distribution, and tighter measures against sales in temples, schools and amusement parks.
Last week, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said he supported only medical, and not recreational, use of cannabis.
And it’s expected to take a year! Because cannabis is not a scourge. It’s just not. They know that.
Where is this great undoing of society and ruination of young lives? The addicts on the streets? After 15 months of a smooth sailing industry with more jobs and more revenue than Thai tourism has seen in years, Thai anti-cannabis voices are quickly approaching a level of utter bullshit from which there is no return.
It’s been said before but it bears repeating: these people know absolutely nothing about cannabis or its impact on people and society. The live of the nervous energy of the fear they evoke in the hearts of their followers.