This was an important week for the Thai cannabis community. Dispensary owners, cannabis advocates, growers and supporters rallied at the Office of the Narcotics Control Board on Tuesday and met with the Minister of Health, Khun Anutin Charnvirakul at his offices on Wednesday. The results of both events were positive. The Narcotics Control Board affirmed they have no authority to revoke or amend ministerial announcements and edicts. The very next day, Khun Anutin confirmed that cannabis would neither be relisted as a narcotic nor recriminalized. The cannabis community proved it can organize, communicate, sit together and address the concerns of our community in a positive manner in the face of aggressive opposition.
While this week has been positive for the cannabis community, it is only a footnote in the history of the Thai cannabis movement. The opposition will once more come after the community, its businesses and the commonsense provisions issued by Khun Anutin. To date, the opposition has attacked the pro-cannabis side with nonsensical silly stories, exaggerated and misleading statistics, and absurd falsities. They try to use their ignorance as a weapon—bashing the public over the head with fairy tales—ignoring facts, science, and economic realities. Their ultimate goal: using cannabis as a means to take power by weakening its champions.
The cannabis community will be challenged over and over again. To this end we must unite and use our diversity of personality, interests and background as a strength while resisting self-serving actions which may serve only to weaken the community. Our community is made up of farmers, artists, musicians, writers, scientists, doctors, and entrepreneurs. We are people from different backgrounds with different talents and ambitions, but we are all creators, developers and builders. Positive creativity is our passion and our common bond—it must also be our uniting principle.
As previously mentioned, the opposition has a deficit of education and understanding relating to cannabis. On the other hand, science, medicine and economics all favor the cannabis community. Moving forward our community will stay strong if we focus and rally behind these simple truths and principles:
Cannabis is a building block for society. Dispensaries such as Sukhumweed, PHC, Never Not High, Weed View, Highland and so many more are run by artists and have become centers of art and music. The next generation of Thai cultural greatness, art, music, literature, cinema, architecture, etc., will come out of the dispensaries and should be encouraged not stifled. Thailand’s greatest soft power is its amazing culture—from food to architecture—it is hard to identify another culture as rich as Thailand’s. Cannabis will further develop and bring out more aspects of this culture for the benefit of our own society and the world.
Cannabis is a medicinal herb, traditionally used for curing and alleviating common ailments. It has long and storied roots here in Thailand and is part of historical culture and medicinal practice. Our community does not have to look outside of our borders to find inspiration, guidance and education on how to grow or use it. Our growers have emerged from the shadows to turn out incredibly high-quality plants in just a short period of time. Cannabis is part of Thai history and part of the fabric of this land, we are custodians of that history. This is not to say outside collaboration is unwelcome, but rather it must be collaboration not outside dictation. The Thai cannabis community must be Thai and must be allowed to grow and flourish from within. Ultimately, our place is to influence the world.
Cannabis will be the driving power behind a full economic recovery and advancement. In the short period of time since legalization, cannabis has led to an influx of tourism, new options for farmers, and created thousands of new businesses and jobs. This is just the beginning. As our cannabis culture further develops, our art will entice even more tourists and other artists to visit Thailand. Our farmers will grow more prosperous and will further develop their own genetics and growing techniques (and rediscover old techniques lost over the decades). More cannabis related businesses, dispensaries, and ancillary businesses, restaurants, cafes, etc., will lead to even more jobs, more opportunity, and more prosperity. Our cannabis community will have a seat at the table for all willing to join and contribute—healthy competition will drive our quality and our economy.
The cannabis community supports common sense, science and medicine. We are fully supportive of regulations which protect society, especially vulnerable members of society such as minors. We support education and research to further understand the benefits and detriments of cannabis. To this end we fully support all parties’ initiatives to protect vulnerable members of society while also encouraging the responsible and positive use of cannabis. We are people of science and education—we have doctors and medical practitioners, such as Dr. Green, in our numbers. We use cannabis as a life enhancer—not as a detriment. Those who speak out against cannabis and the community with falsities and exaggerations do a disservice to both the cannabis community and society as a whole. When they lie and blame cannabis for society’s ills, they defame and libel us. They ignore the medicinal and societal benefits and push us backwards. We are not derelicts. We are not flotsam and jetsam. We are builders and creators. We are professionals. We are community collaborators such as Top Deep, Cat Lee and Fat Bud. We are positive and we are proud.
Our community is not defined by one person or one entity. We are a community diverse in background, experience, interests and ambition. We are not homogeneous. However, we currently are and must remain, united by the common goals and principles detailed above, namely keeping cannabis legally and responsibly accessible, building society, legitimizing the hard work undertaken both pre and post legalization by the community and keeping a seat at the table for all. The cannabis community is not without its faults. We are not perfect. We are human and we struggle with our own interests when they clash with the interests of the whole. This is the time to support the community.