I am writing this article 4 days away from judging the first Phuket Cannabis Cup with my last fifteen (out of fifty) samples of beautiful Thai buds waiting to be smoked. There is no doubt I will get through each bud and give them the attention they deserve. In order to focus on the task at hand I have suspended my normal activities of familiarizing myself with Thailand’s best and up and coming growers and their buds. I miss the personal touch, the contact, and my discussions with the growers, but at the same time I am excited to finally match the anonymous buds I have been smoking and judging with the names, personalities and faces of their growers. Most of all, we at HighThailand are excited to participate in and support what promises to be another step forward in the development of our Thai cannabis community. We have seen evidence that our community has grown, matured, and strengthened with each event and anticipate that the Phuket Cannabis Cup will be another historic moment for our community.
The timing of the Phuket Cannabis Cup is important and opportune. The May election approaches promising an endless onslaught of senseless vitriol against cannabis and our community. We have written about the weakness of cannabis’s detractors in previous articles. It is key that we also emphasize the importance of staying united, focused, discipled and clean for the benefit of the community now and after the election. Khun Poonwarit Wangpatravanich, President of the Phuket Cannabis Association, has promised that the Cup will be a “clear transparent and fun” means for folks in the industry to “help each other out, not for competition, but to add value to each other.” The focus is building, not being destructive, “finding win win solutions . . . and helping other people.” These are the most basic aspects of our community which exist, can be strengthened, and can protect us as we go into this election period of added uncertainty.
Legal cannabis was reborn in Thailand as an orphan. It was blessed with life but then left to fend for itself in an education and knowledge vacuum. Over the last ten months the best parts of our community have filled that vacuum with educational events, cooperation, and self-regulation. We have also seen greedy opportunists try to take advantage of that vacuum through corrupt and unscrupulous acts. But it is our community events and organizers who stand out and define us. They are the glue that holds us together and shows what true Thai cannabis culture is. Amongst the goals of the Phuket Cannabis Cup is cooperation between the private and public sector to discuss and develop cannabis safety and quality standards for responsible cannabis use. These are some of the steps we need to take now to show the strength of our community and prove the detractors wrong.
Now is not the time to be complacent. The privilege of using cannabis freely is not secure but hangs on strings of uncertainty. This is the time to work together. Band together. Cooperate. Build the community, develop standards, establish sustainability. Those of you in our community who have the gifts and talents of leadership and communication, who are selfless and prioritize the community, we call on you to stand up and take the lead. Broadcast to everyone that we are a proud but humble group focused on celebrating a medicinal plant which has no proven ill effects on society. For those of us who prefer staying out of the limelight, your participation in the community is still important. Support what you believe in. Challenge the naysayers with facts and data. Hold a mirror up to ignorance. Ask anyone claims against cannabis for hard evidence.
This Saturday I will be part of eight judges at the Phuket Cannabis Cup selecting winners from amongst fifty samples of Thai grown cannabis. HighThailand is honored and thrilled to participate. But it is important to keep everything in perspective. We all win if there is a 2024 Phuket Cannabis Cup—we will all lose if the 2023 Cup is both the inaugural and ultimate event. Now more than ever is the time to stand up for and join the community—we need you.