The whole of Thailand could get high if one politician and his party get elected this March 2019.
Make weed legal
A Thai politician, Anutin Charnvirakul, 53, is running for election by promising to make marijuana legal in the country if his party wins.
“Marijuana is not a drug that should be illegal – it’s that simple,” Anutin told domestic and international journalists at The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT).
“Unlike alcohol and cigarettes, marijuana has great health benefits such as treating cancer, Alzheimer’s and insomnia.”
This stance goes beyond okaying medical marijuana by a mile.
His Bhumjaithai party will contest in the general election on March 24.
Full legalisation core campaign policy
The Bhumjaithai party has made full legalisation of the drug a core campaign policy.
This pledge is radical as it would involve the unrestricted growing of marijuana as the country's new cash crop.
The party has cannabis leaves as part of its signage all over Bangkok.
Anutin's stance on marijuana has been uncompromising.
He said Bhumjaithai will not join a ruling coalition that does not favour full legalisation of cannabis.
Monetising marijuana for everyday Thais
His plan to monetise the crop aims to spread the economic benefits to everyday Thais.
This is to prevent monopolies from being established after a Japanese company and a UK firm are seeking to corner the market in medicinal and recreational marijuana via illicit patent registrations.
This involves trademarking some of the more popular strains of the plant.
Anutin has proposed allowing each household to grow six plants.
Each plant can potentially generate 70,000 baht (S$3,019).
State agencies would buy the plants from rural areas of Thailand and giving each family 420,000 baht (S$18,114).
Marijuana dried mangoes, anyone?
An adviser to Bhumjaithai is Tom Julpas Kruesopon, which some media have dubbed Kruesopon “Mr Weed” because of his tireless preaching on the medicinal and financial benefits of marijuana for Thailand.
He has floated the idea of the economic potential that the ubiquity of marijuana will bring, such as having cannabis dried mangoes.
"Marijuana has three phases -- the growth, the extraction and the sale", Kruesopon said.
"The growth here will be controlled and you have to get a licence to grow. The government will probably be the extractor, or involved in it by setting up private companies who can do it and then subsequently sell and market the product while, theoretically, involving the government and farmers in profit sharing.”
Thailand in December 2018 became the first nation in Asia to pass legislation allowing the use of cannabis for medical treatment and research.
The king of Thailand has made the law official through a royal decree in the last week of February 2019.
Thailand’s history with marijuana
Thailand, until the 1930s, had a tradition of using marijuana to relieve pain and fatigue.
But the drug remains illegal and taboo across much of Southeast Asia.
Marijuana traffickers can be subject to the death penalty in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.