Cannabis Legalization Criticized in Thailand as Too Much, Too Soon

Cannabis Legalization Criticized in Thailand as Too Much, Too Soon
High Times

One thing is true about cannabis legalization no matter where it happens: Nobody gets it right the first time around—and there are always lots of critics. This has been true in every legalizing U.S. state. It is true of Canada. It will almost certainly be the case in Europe, although legislators here are cautious to back most forward moves on the legalization front into “trials.” This is also now being seen in Asia as Thailand becomes the first country in the region to legalize the plant and proceeds with crafting formal legislation to regulate the burgeoning domestic cannabis industry. While Thailand may be internationally hailed 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 key issues of contention. The first is that critics are lambasting the government decision to move ahead with cannabis reform at all—albeit of the medical kind. The second is that the government should have moved more slowly and studied the consequences of legalization, closing loopholes along the way. One of the most public consequences of the country’s moves to legalize cannabis this year, beyond the global publicity Thailand received for giving away one million cannabis plants or releasing its cannabis prisoners, is to launch a public relations campaign warning tourists that cannabis is not broadly legal in the country. And this is all before the formal bill to legalize medical use has formally passed into law. Buyer’s Remorse in Thailand? Thailand may be proceeding with reform a little differently than Western countries to date, but the arguments against reform seem to be remarkably similar, no matter the geography in which they happen. The first, inevitably, comes from the established medical profession. Despite the…

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