Connect with us

News

Thailand Makes Marijuana Legal, But Smoking Is Discouraged

Published

on

The first customer of the day, Rittipomng Bachkul celebrates after buying legal marijuana at the Highland Cafe in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, June 9, 2022. Sakchai Lalit/AP

Thailand made it legal to cultivate and possess marijuana as of Thursday, like a dream come true for an aging generation of pot smokers who recall the kick the legendary Thai Stick variety delivered.

The stated intention of the country’s public health minister to distribute 1 million marijuana seedlings, beginning Friday, has added to the impression that Thailand is turning into a weed wonderland

Some Thai advocates celebrated Thursday morning by buying marijuana at a cafe that had previously been limited to selling products made from the parts of the plant that do not get people high. The dozen or so people who turned up at the Highland Cafe were able to choose from a variety of buds with names such as Sugarcane, Bubblegum, Purple Afghani, and UFO.

“I can say it out loud, that I am a cannabis smoker. I don’t need to hide like in the past when it was branded as an illegal drug,” said 24-year-old Rittipong Bachkul, the day’s first customer.

So far, it appears there would be no effort to police what people can grow and smoke at home, aside from registering to do so, and declaring it is for medical purposes.

For the time being, however, would-be marijuana tourists might want to proceed with caution.

Thailand’s government has said it is promoting cannabis for medical use only, warning those eager to light up for fun that smoking in public could still considered to be a nuisance, subject to a potential 3-month sentence and 25,000 Thai baht ($780) fine.

And extracted content, such as oil, remains illegal if it contains more than 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical that makes people high.

The status of marijuana is still in considerable legal limbo because while it is no longer treated as a dangerous drug, Thai lawmakers have yet to pass legislation to regulate its trade.

Thailand has become the first nation in Asia to decriminalize marijuana — also known as cannabis, or ganja in the local lingo — but it is not following the examples of Uruguay and Canada, the only two countries so far that have legalized recreational marijuana on a national basis.

Workers tend to cannabis plants at a farm in Chonburi province, eastern Thailand on June 5, 2022. Marijuana cultivation and possession in Thailand was decriminalized as of Thursday, June 9, 2022.
Sakchai Lalit/AP

Thailand mainly wants to make a splash in the market for medical marijuana. It already has a well developed medical tourism industry and its tropical climate is ideal for growing cannabis.

“We should know how to use cannabis,” Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, the country’s biggest marijuana booster, said recently. “If we have the right awareness, cannabis is like gold, something valuable, and should be promoted.”

But he added, “We will have additional Ministry of Health Notifications, by the Department of Health. If it causes nuisances, we can use that law (to stop people from smoking).”

He said the government prefers to “build an awareness” that would be better than patrolling to check on people and using the law to punish them.

Some immediate beneficiaries of the change are people who have been locked up for breaking the old law.

“From our perspective, a major positive outcome of the legal changes is that at least 4,000 people imprisoned for offences relating to cannabis will be released,” Gloria Lai, Asia regional director of the International Drug Policy Consortium, said in an email interview.

“People facing cannabis-related charges will see them dropped, and money and cannabis seized from people charged with cannabis-related offences will be returned to their owners.” Her organization is network of civil society organizations worldwide advocating drug policies “grounded in principles of human rights, health and development.”

However, economic benefits are at the heart of the marijuana reforms, projected to boost everything from national income to small farmers’ livelihoods.

There is concern over whether the benefits will be distributed equitably.

One fear is that giant corporations could be unfairly served by proposed regulations involving complicated licensing processes and expensive fees for commercial use that would handicap small producers.

“We have seen what happened with the alcohol business in Thailand. Only large-scale producers are allowed to monopolize the market,” said Taopiphop Limjittrakorn, a lawmaker from the opposition Move Forward party. “We are worried the similar thing will happen to the cannabis industry if the rules are in favor of big business,” His party wants laws now being drafted to tackle the problem.

Small operators are keen to move into the marijuana sector anyway.

On a hot Sunday afternoon in eastern Thailand’s Sri Racha district, Ittisug Hanjichan, owner of Goldenleaf Hemp, a cannabis farm, led his fifth training course for 40 entrepreneurs, farmers, and retirees. They each paid about $150 to learn tips on nicking seed coats and tending the plants to get quality yields.

One of the attendees was 18-year-old Chanadech Sonboon, who said his parents used to scold him for trying to secretly grow marijuana plants.

He said his father has changed his mind and now sees marijuana as a medication rather than something to be abused. The family runs a small homestay and café and hopes to one day provide cannabis to its guests.

Sourcelink

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

News

Lomé Will, Again, Host WHO’s African Regional Committee Meeting

Published

on

By

Lomé, the Togolese capital, will host the 72nd session of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) African Regional Committee from 22 to 26 August.

This was revealed by the Minister of Health, Public Hygiene, and Universal Access to Health Care, during the Council of Ministers held on August 3, 2022.

“This choice attests to the efforts and progress made by our country, under the leadership of the Head of State, in the field of public health,” the government said. “The Council welcomed this choice and encouraged all ministers to be actively involved for the success of this regional meeting,”it added.

According to the provisional agenda of WHO Africa, the meeting, in hybrid format, will be structured on 5 pillars. It will address issues such as the Regional Strategy for the control of serious non-communicable diseases in primary health care facilities, the framework for strengthening the implementation of the global action plan for mental health, protection against financial risks for universal health coverage in the WHO African Region, a framework for integrated control, elimination and eradication of tropical and vector-borne diseases in the African Region 2022-2030, or the strengthening of the UN agency, for more effective and efficient support to African countries

Togo hosted (via videoconference) the previous session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa.

Continue Reading

News

South African Minister Accuses West of ‘Bullying’ On Ukraine

Published

on

By

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, and South African Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor appear at a joint press conference after meeting together in Pretoria, South Africa, on Aug. 8, 2022.

South African Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor accused the West of sometimes taking a patronizing and bullying attitude toward Africa, as she hosted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the first leg of his Africa visit. Pandor made it clear that South Africa has different views from the U.S. on Ukraine, China, and Israel and the Palestinians.

At a joint press conference in the South African capital, Blinken stressed he was not on his three-country tour of the continent in order to counter Moscow and Beijing’s growing influence in the region, as has been widely speculated, after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited last month.

“Our commitment to a stronger partnership with Africa is not about trying to outdo anyone else,” Blinken said.

Blinken spoke, too, about U.S. support of Ukraine, saying Russia’s invasion was an aggression against the entire international order.
South Africa has remained neutral on the conflict with Russia, its partner in the BRICS group of countries, and abstained from any U.N. votes on the matter, though Pandor said the country “abhorred” war and would like to see an end to the conflict.

However, she said the different approaches by the international community to different conflicts sometimes “leads to cynicism about international bodies.” She referenced the plight of the Palestinians.

“Just as much as the people of Ukraine deserve their territory and freedom, the people of Palestine deserve their territory and freedom,” she said, “and we should be equally concerned at what is happening to the people of Palestine as we are with what is happening to the people of Ukraine. We’ve not seen an even-handed approach.”

Pandor added that while it didn’t come from Blinken, South Africa had experienced pressure from some in the West to align with its policy on Ukraine. She also appeared to criticize the U.S. bill passed in April, “Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act,” which has been seen by some on the continent as a vehicle to punish African countries that have not toed the line on Ukraine.

“From some of our partners in Europe and elsewhere, there has been a sense of patronizing bullying — ‘You choose this or else.’ And the recent legislation passed in the United States of America by the House of Representatives, we found a most unfortunate bill.”

Bob Wekesa, director of the African Center for the Study of the United States, said Pandor’s candid remarks at the press conference showed the closed-door meeting between the U.S. and South African sides “must have been a very difficult one.”

“I think the U.S. is attempting to figure out how to get South Africa on to its side, but South Africa is not coming to the party,” Wekesa said.

Blinken was in Pretoria to launch the new U.S. Strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa, which focuses on areas such as climate change, trade, health and food insecurity.

During his remarks Monday, he also criticized Beijing for its strong reaction to House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Pandor would not comment specifically on Taiwan but did say South Africa did not want to be made party to a conflict between China and the U.S.

Continue Reading

News

Man Who Killed His 2-Day Old Daughter For Crying Too Much Found Dead In His Prison Cell

Published

on

By

Trigger Warning: This story mentions child abuse and infanticide which may be disturbing to readers.

Newborn babies cry a lot, in fact, that is how they communicate. But, when a two-day-old baby wouldn’t stop crying, an infuriated father punched her in the face, so hard that she died.

Karen Bissett, 21, the child’s mother had left the child with her father, Liam Deane, when she went to get some sleep on July 10, 2017. Since Luna wouldn’t stop crying while Bissett was away, he shook her hard; punching her in the face, and squeezing her body and arms, reports BBC.

Despite suffering grave injuries, the father did nothing. The next day, he informed Luna’s mother that she was struggling to breathe and lied that she fell from the bed while sleeping at night. The two-day-old was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary where she died in intensive care on July 14.

According to a doctor, Luna died as a result of head trauma, which left her with “catastrophic brain injuries.”

When questioned by police, Deane broke down and admitted that he was the one who attacked the infant. During Deane’s trial, prosecutor Michael Smith stated that the infant suffered damage to her brain, body, and face.

Smith said, “He said he was responsible for all of the injuries that she had suffered and he said that Luna had not settled down and he lost control.” The then 22-year-old father was given a life sentence with a minimum of 10 years in prison in October 2017.

But unfortunately, fate had other plans for him. You see, just months after receiving his sentence, Dean was found dead in his prison cell in IMP Leeds on 12 November 2017. Fellow inmate John Westland, who was serving a sentence for rape and grievous bodily harm, was arrested and given a minimum of 19 years in prison, as he was responsible for the murder of the father.

During the trial, judge Rodney Jameson QC told Westland, “You told the jury that you believed Liam Deane was a sex offender, but he was not. He had committed a very serious crime, but had admitted it from the first and was trying to come to terms with what he had done.”

“It is an unfortunate consequence of life in prison than those who are themselves guilty of serious offenses, as you were, will find another inmate to look down on. Given the nature of your own conviction, some might find that to be rank hypocrisy,” said Judge Jameson.

Then, Westland revealed that because of the nature of Deane’s conviction, he was frequently referred to as a “baby killer” around the jail, and he received daily threats and taunts. He also claimed that his cellmate was in debt to other inmates.

During the week-long trial, jurors heard that the convict killed his cellmate with a broken bottle of aftershave and that the victim had shown symptoms of asphyxiation caused by pressure on his head and face.

Even though Deane’s crime of killing his infant daughter was termed as “an appalling crime that tore her family apart” by West Yorkshire Police, they believed that he was entitled to his right of serving his time in prison.

Continue Reading

Trending