Informed piece by the Times. Here’s the introduction
Cannabis shops have multiplied since the drug was decriminalized, with caveats, in June. But some lawmakers are pushing for tighter regulation.
Thailand’s military government is carrying out an experiment: What happens when a country in Asia, a region where drug laws tend to be harsh, essentially legalizes marijuana overnight?
In the first few months, lots of people have opened weed dispensaries, and their customers have smoked a lot of weed.
Thailand’s marijuana industry has a joyful, freewheeling vibe on a street level. Some dispensaries offer workshops on rolling joints and brewing “weed tea.” Next week, one is holding “yoga on high” class; the ticket price includes a joint, a beverage, a snack and a yoga mat rental.
“It’s good because you can just go out and buy it whenever you want,” said Ak Sudasna, 50, who owns a real estate company in Bangkok and typically purchases about 40 grams of marijuana per month, for about $15 a gram, from shops near his home.
“It’s nice for the tourists,” he added. “It’s nice for the country.”
But the high times may not last. Sprawling draft legislation, which is expected to move through Parliament in the coming weeks, will seek to regulate legal gray areas around the cultivation, sale and consumption of the drug. It could become law as early as next year.
Exactly how the law would affect the industry, and consumers like Mr. Ak, will depend very much on the fine print. But, for the moment, its exact scope and focus are being negotiated in a parliamentary committee, out of the public eye.
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