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ALERT: Foreigners Involved In Cannabis Business Under Scrutiny?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing, well the Cannabis business yet again, but the specific thrust of this video - again I really don't make these ALERTS lightly and I know that there have been a few of them that I've made here recently - I make them when they are warranted. 

Thai Law Enforcement, the sort of ebb and flow of Immigration Policy and how it pertains to foreigners, it's very cyclical in that it's kind of almost like a hurry up and wait thing where you will go fairly protracted periods of time where nothing much will happen and then when things do happen, boy do they happen quick. It's sort of what was it Lenin said: "There are years that go by where nothing happens, and then there are weeks that go by where years happen!" or something of this nature, again I am butchering the quote but you get the point, which is again we'll go through these protracted periods of time where it's pretty even keel, it causes many foreigners here by the way to become complacent, it's a real problem insofar as folks that are kind of operating outside the lines, it's sort of a normalcy bias thing where they think because they have gotten away with it for a certain period of time, that they will continue to get away with it into the future and at the end of the day, that's not a good attitude to have. I took a lot of heat, even in person from folks that even consulted us that were foreign wanting to look into the Cannabis business because I said and I said this on record in videos too, that look at the end of the day it's a Thai agricultural type of subject matter when you're looking at the underlying issue of it all. At the end of the day, it's agriculture and Thai sensibilities are such that agriculture is one of those things that they zealously guard from outside, undue influence okay? Look we have had this period of time right now where we have seen a very lax regulatory environment with regard to Cannabis - and I've gone into great lengths on that, plenty of videos we made on that - but it looks to me like at least from the perspective of foreigners, that laxity is not only ending but the curtain is coming down hard, like a brick bat for lack of a better term. 

That being said, I thought of making this video initially after first reading; I'll come to another article where I first thought of making this video was Thai Examiner, but I then found this article in Bangkok Post, bangkokpost.com, the article is titled: Weed use leaps after law eased. Toward the end of that I thought it was noteworthy if for no other reason but to provide sort of an update on sort of how all is swirling if you will under the surface. Quoting directly: "Supachai Jaisamut, advisor to Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and member of a (I think they mean 'the') Bhumjaithai Party, which spearheaded the unlocking of Cannabis from the narcotic list in the previous government, said the Srettha Administration has clearly spelt out a case for the continuing use of Cannabis for medicine and health." Now what that means is anybody's guess. Quoting further: "The Government also has a policy to increase the economic value of Cannabis." Now along that line I couldn't agree more with the sentiments of folks in this Cannabis regulatory space where they are trying to come up with policy and then implement it. Yeah I think we all want to see this be economically more beneficial to the country than even it already is now, so I think that's a laudable goal. Quoting further: "Which received consensus from all Government parties, he added. So the best solution is to have a law to control Cannabis use, he noted." Quoting further: "He added that in his view, Thailand must have a law to control its use, not to relist Cannabis as a narcotic. He said the Party has done its job by drafting a revised Cannabis legislation and has submitted it for Parliament's consideration. It should be supported by all parties, he said." Yeah, and I think that's a fair assessment as sort of the state of play if you will. 

Now that said and again further to the thrust of this video, I thought of making this video initially after reading an article in the Thai Examiner, thaiexaminer.com, the article is titled: Anutin accepts the PM's line on Pot. As I said in a prior video, that's not exactly what is happening here. It looks to me like Anutin is sort of compromising because there are bigger issues at play, but at the end of the day, we're all just trying to do what's right I guess for the country, and what exactly that is remains to be seen but it is being hashed out, it's becoming increasingly clear to me that yes there are interested parties trying to get this right. Quoting further and this is key to this video: "He now calls for foreigners operating weed shops to be arrested by police." I want to be clear in this video that there's a very big difference in the analysis of how policy is going to be shaped with regard to Cannabis generally here in Thailand and then how Cannabis Policy is going to be shaped as it pertains to foreigners, because that's two very different things. So quoting directly: "Mr Anutin made clear his preference for legislation to regulate the industry. Speaking with reporters, he then vented his ire on foreigners who he claimed were operating Marijuana or Cannabis outlets illegally in Thailand. He called for them to be arrested." Interesting little side note. This isn't the first time Anutin has vented his ire if you will at foreigners and I don't mean to laugh it off or take it lightly, but it has been kind of a running theme with him. Quoting further: "Interior Minister Anutin turned his attention to the illegal control," this is interesting, the phraseology here, and again tip of the hat to Thai Examiner. They are always very good at being precise and very well researched in their publications. Again, let me quote that again: "Interior Minister Anutin turned his attention to the illegal control of Marijuana shops by foreigners in Thailand." So again, we are not even maybe talking about necessarily legal ownership but simply some form of practical control seems to be what is being targeted here. Quoting further: "He called for all of them to be arrested." Again, this is the reason for the ALERT. This is pretty serious language. Quoting further: "Afterward he turned his fire on foreigners in the marijuana trade. He called for Police to pursue foreign owners of Cannabis retail outlets and dispensaries. Anutin suggested that many shops are operated without being properly regulated by the Ministry of Public Health. Certainly this has been a consistent position of the Deputy Prime Minister. In 2022 at the height of Parliamentary battles on Cannabis, he made it clear that he did not see the drug as something to be linked to foreign tourism." I would kind of disagree on that one. I think Cannabis has had a major impact on foreign tourism and I would also say that is a good thing. Anything that we can do to bring in some more foreign tourists in my opinion is a good thing and it also, again let's really not underestimate the positive benefit that this particular product has had on the overall economy. In these tourism areas, especially coming off of COVID when the Emergency Decree ended, I was here, there were tumbleweeds going down the streets in certain places. I mean Pattaya, main Pattaya was practically deserted, okay? So when these Marijuana shops came in and filled the gaps in commercial real estate, one of the things they did purely from an aesthetic standpoint, but I don't think it should be underestimated, it filled in the vacant retail space and it makes Thailand look good that there are shops and businesses and the economy at the street level is operating. You look back at the West right now and you look at their commercial real estate sector and you look at their population centres or their business centres or their tourism centres, and many places are closed because retail has been largely gobbled up by online trading platforms and things of this nature. The upshot is a lot of places that once were very vibrant are now decayed and this is one of these sort of intangible things that I don't exactly think many, even policy makers have really looked at as a major benefit of this Cannabis Business if you will. 

That being said, again you have to separate the analysis of Cannabis generally here in Thailand from the analysis of Cannabis Policy as it pertains to foreigners because those are two very different things and I think it is safe to presume that moving forward, foreigners are going to be under a heightened amount of scrutiny, if not subject to law enforcement activities if they are involved in the Cannabis Business.