Home Medical profession Cannabis legalization criticized in Thailand as too much, too soon

Cannabis legalization criticized in Thailand as too much, too soon


One thing is true about the legalization of cannabis, no matter where it happens: no one gets it right the first time and there are always lots of critics. This has been true in all US legalizing states. This is true of Canada. This will almost certainly be the case in Europe, although lawmakers here are cautious to back most advances on the legalization front in “trials”. This is also now seen in Asia as Thailand becomes the first country in the region to legalize the plant and proceeds to draft formal legislation to regulate the country’s burgeoning cannabis industry.

While Thailand may be hailed internationally as the first Asian country to embrace cannabis reform, however, the new policies are being harshly criticized in some quarters, particularly domestically, and further with flawed logic seen elsewhere. .

There are two main points of contention. The first is that critics berate the government’s decision to go ahead with cannabis reform, albeit medical in nature. The second is that the government should have moved more slowly and studied the consequences of legalization, plugging loopholes along the way.

One of the more public consequences of the country’s move to legalize cannabis this year, beyond the global publicity Thailand has received for donating a million cannabis plants or freeing its cannabis prisoners, is to launch a public relations campaign warning tourists that cannabis is not widely legal in the country.

And all this before the official bill to legalize medical use was officially passed.

Buyer’s remorse in Thailand?

Thailand may be carrying out reform a little differently than Western countries to date, but the arguments against reform seem to be remarkably similar regardless of the geography in which they occur.

The first, inevitably, comes from the established medical profession. Despite government assurances that they are implementing reforms for medical, not recreational use, Thai doctors have raised concerns familiar elsewhere. Namely that cannabis can supposedly “trigger” mental health problems. This is especially ironic given the history of the plant here. Historically, cannabis has been used in Thailand, as in other countries, for medical and religious purposes.

The second wave of criticism comes from critics who fear the change in law will damage the reputation of Thai agricultural exports. Whether this biomass will be used in animal feed. There is also considerable irony in this attack, including the existence of a recent Thai study which seems to indicate that chickens fed hemp containing up to 0.4% THC seem to need less, if not more. ‘none, antibiotics because they are bred for meat.

A global stigma remains

No matter how far cannabis reform has come over the past decade, it’s situations like the one unfolding in Thailand now that serve as a stark reminder of just how far the legalization effort still needs to go.

The good news is that Thailand’s sudden change in attitude towards cannabis is already causing other countries in the region (such as Indonesia) to re-examine their own approach to cannabis.

In other words, Thailand’s green conversion is particularly disruptive in a region that has so far resisted modern cannabis reform and still has some of the toughest anti-cannabis laws in the world. In many parts of Asia, a person can still be sentenced to life imprisonment or even the death penalty for “crimes” that are considered relatively minor cannabis-related offenses elsewhere.

The world’s largest hemp producer, China, is of course watching all of these developments closely. At the UN, the country is still lobbying against the removal of cannabis from a Schedule I drug. At home, even unauthorized possession of hemp seeds is considered a serious crime.

Be that as it may, the remarkable progress in Thailand, together with the unconventional approach to reform implementation seen here, is just another welcome sign that, regardless of criticism, the great revolution in cannabis continues, unabated, even in this part of the world.