Buddhist Temple Left Empty After Monks Fail Drug Tests

Buddhist Temple Left Empty After Monks Fail Drug Tests
High Times

A Buddhist temple in Thailand is even quieter than usual these days after several monks there failed a drug test.  Agence France-Presse reports that a total of four monks “including an abbot at a temple in Phetchabun province’s Bung Sam Phan district tested positive for methamphetamine on Monday.”  Boonlert Thintapthai, an official in the central Thailand district, told Agence France-Presse that the “temple is now empty of monks and nearby villagers are concerned they cannot do any merit-making” after the four monks were sent to a drug rehabilitation clinic.  “Merit-making involves worshippers donating food to monks as a good deed. Boonlert said more monks will be sent to the temple to allow villagers to practise their religious obligations. Thailand is a major transit country for methamphetamine flooding in from Myanmar’s troubled Shan state via Laos, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. On the street, pills sell for less than 20 baht (around $0.50). Authorities across Southeast Asia have made record meth seizures in recent years,” Agence France-Presse reports. The raid of the temple comes at a turbulent moment for the country and its enforcement of drug laws.  In June, Thai lawmakers passed a measure that removed cannabis from its list of prohibited drugs, making it the first Asian country to decriminalize weed.  But the new law has resulted in ambiguity, and frustration for government officials.  The new law made it legal to cultivate both cannabis and hemp, but it also opened the door for restaurants to serve food and drinks that contain THC. These cannabis cafes have sprouted up in recent months throughout the capital city of Bangkok, much to the chagrin of Thai officials. “It’s a no,” Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said in the summer when asked whether recreational pot use would be allowed.…

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