An Australian Member of Parliament representing Narracan, Victoria disclosed his concerns regarding the potential confusion among tourists, specifically Australians, on the cannabis laws and regulations in Phuket. Wayne Farnham, besides being State Member for Narracan, also serves as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition in Victoria, John Pesutto.

Farnham’s trip to Phuket is primarily aimed to evaluate the impact of the island’s cannabis industry on its local markets and tourists therein. Amidst the growing support for cannabis legalization movements in Victoria, Farnham gives insights into his own stance on the issue. “Personally,” said Farnham, “I am opposed to the overarching legalization of cannabis in Victoria. However, my objections don’t extend to medically prescribed use of cannabis.”

Since his first visit to Phuket in 2009, Farnham has been intrigued by the manner in which the country has transformed and evolved its stance towards cannabis consumption in contrast to its previously rigorous drug use policies. As the transformation unfolds, he is keen to understand how this legalization has influenced the island’s tourism industry and the collective attitude of tourists towards cannabis legalization.

During his stay in Phuket, Farnham met a host of influential figures, which include the Australian Consul-General Matthew Barclay, police officials, and health officials, to have a wider perspective on the issue. Furthermore, interactions with tourists have provided him with insightful feedback.

With reference to the legalization of cannabis in Phuket, Farnham opines that it primarily seems to advocate the medicinal use of cannabis; a century-old practice that was lost in obscurity. The latter could potentially alleviate the pain distressing terminally ill patients. In the course of discussions with the local police, he comes to realize that the cannabis laws still seem to be in the making, with the momentary guidelines revolving around cannabis consumption and selling.

Highly prevalent cannabis stores and cafes around the island stirred up concerns, as did the casual attitudes of tourists smoking cannabis publicly. The absence of prominent signs prohibiting public cannabis consumption on stores, coupled with the frequent sighting of tourists smoking openly, has led Farnham to advocate for a more comprehensive awareness drive for tourists. Tourist’s misconceptions about cannabis consumption laws may land them in legal trouble—an absolute nightmare scenario.

Through his interaction with cannabis vendors and locals, Farnham deduces an overall tepid reception towards public cannabis usage, but a wide consensus on its medicinal potential. The legislator is reserving his judgement on the long-term impacts of the cannabis laws on the local community until a substantial data report is available. 

Ending his commentary with a note of caution, Farnham stresses on the need for setting straight the still murky cannabis laws, as he fears an uncontrolled situation could detrimentally impact the uniquely charming aura of both Thailand and especially Phuket. Long term observation will assist him in making an informed decision, but as of his current visit, he’s disinclined to support complete legalization back home, restricting his support to its medicinal use.

As a disclaimer, the opinions expressed in this article don’t reflect those of High Thailand.

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