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“Any displays, sale or solicitation of CBD oil is illegal and individuals involved are subject to federal investigation and prosecution.”

CBD oil, sold in stores throughout Ohio, is illegal and can carry a felony charge

CBD oil, sold in stores throughout Ohio, is illegal and can carry a felony charge

By Shannon Houser | October 9, 2018 at 9:49 PM EST – Updated October 10 at 11:26 AM

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) – CBD oil is available online, in every state and is commonly found on store shelves across Northeast Ohio; however, it’s illegal and can result in a felony charge.

So, why the big confusion over the chemical compound?

“I got pulled over in a traffic stop and long story short, they found CBD oil,” said Robert Faulkner.

It was July of last year when Faulkner was arrested in Richland County.

“I tried it for my anxiety. It didn’t work for me at that particular time and I just threw it in the back on my truck,” he said.

Faulkner said he bought it from a store in Columbus. He said the oil was made and manufactured from a hemp store in Cincinnati.

“I never went to the store and thought I was buying something that would potentially put me in prison,” he said.

Faulkner was slapped with two counts of aggravated possession of drugs. He’s awaiting a grand jury trial for the felony charges.

Here in Ohio, you cannot possess CBD oil. The laws aren’t stopping people from buying it and it’s not stopping stores from selling it.

Faulkner believes the reason is there is so much confusion about the law.

“I didn’t knowingly obtain everything illegal. I went to a store to try to help me with an issue I have,” said Faulkner.

THC is the chemical compound responsible for the high in marijuana. The DEA says they’ve learned through science, that CBD will always contain some amount of THC, even trace amounts that won’t get you high.

But given the presence of THC, the over-the-counter oil is illegal.

Cleveland 19 found two local stores with shelves full of CBD oil.

According to the DEA:

“Any displays, sale or solicitation of CBD oil is illegal and individuals involved are subject to federal investigation and prosecution.”

We found in some states, like in Texas, police are raiding stores who are selling CBD oil.

So why isn’t that happening here if it’s illegal?

The DEA wouldn’t say, but did say stores selling it aren’t immune from federal investigation.

Faulkner says he hopes officials and lawmakers can help make the laws more clear so this doesn’t happen to someone else.

“I have an ankle monitor on right now. I have to go check in with probation. I spent four days in jail. This is impacting my life seriously, for something I bought in at the store to just try to help my anxiety.”

CBD is covered by Ohio’s medical marijuana law–and will be available to those with a medical marijuana card.

The FDA recently approved a CBD oil medication that is used to help treat epilepsy.

It can only be prescribed by licensed doctors.

CONTINUE READING…

RELATED:

Why we must repeal prohibition

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US Attorney Sues West Virginia Hemp Farm

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A U.S. attorney and his office have sued a West Virginia hemp farm for violating the federal Controlled Substances Act.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported Saturday that U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart and his office are suing Matthew Mallory of CAMO Hemp WV, and Gary Kale of Grassy Run Farms.

The lawsuit says the respondents purchased hemp seeds in Kentucky and brought them over the West Virginia‘s state line. It says a state pilot program only allows hemp producers to obtain seeds internationally, via the state Department of Agriculture.

Norman Bailey, chief of staff to the state agriculture commissioner, says state laws and regulations are silent as to the source of seeds for participation in the program. He says the department is monitoring the situation and hasn’t yet decided whether to intervene.

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first meeting of the US House/Senate Conference Committee on the 2018 Farm Bill will take place tomorrow…

The long-awaited first meeting of the US House/Senate Conference Committee on the 2018 Farm Bill will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, September 5, at 9:30 AM. 

9 Senators and 47 Congressmen will sit down for the first time to try to reconcile the differences between the two versions of the bill, with the hopes of final passage by September 30, when the 2014 Farm Bill expires.

As summarized here, prospects are bright that the House will agree to the Senate’s hemp provisions, which would permanently establish hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act. 

Hemp’s most powerful advocate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, has even taken the rare step of appointing himself to the conference committee to better ensure that the provisions he inserted remain in the final compromise.

However, Hemp Supporters can’t take anything for granted.  Please contact your Congressman TODAY.

Enter your zip code into our simple online portal here, and if any of your Members of Congress serve on the conference committee, an editable email will be populated for you to urge them to support hemp.  For those of your representatives who are not on the committee, the portal will prepare an email urging them to contact conference committee members in support of the Senate provisions.
Finally, our General Counsel, Jonathan Miller, will be on hand reporting LIVE from the hearing room via Facebook Live and Periscope.  If you would like to receive his live reports, or a video soon after, please follow us on Facebook here and/or Twitter here.

SOURCE LINK

Today, the Senate named their representatives to the House/Senate conference committee for the 2018 Farm Bill

Today, the Senate named their representatives to the House/Senate conference committee for the 2018 Farm Bill.  Here’s the full list of House and Senate conferees.

In a rare move, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell named himself to the conference committee – meaning he will be in the room when the permanent fate of hemp is decided.

As a reminder, the Senate’s version of the Farm Bill contains the Hemp Farming Act, sponsored by Leader McConnell and co-sponsored by a bi-partisan coalition of more than two-dozen Senators, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.  The House version is silent on hemp.

The House/Senate conference committee will resolve the differences between the two bills – and McConnell will be twisting arms to ensure the Senate hemp language prevails.

He needs our help.

You can help ensure hemp is permanently legalized.

We’ve re-formatted our online portal to empower you to help get hemp across the finish line.  Input your zip code, and our portal will determine whether your Congressman and/or Senators serve on the conference committee.  If so, with a few keystrokes, you can send them a personalized email urging them to support the Hemp Farming Act language.  The portal will also enable you to send a message to your Members of Congress who don’t serve on the conference committee to urge them to reach out to their colleagues that do.

In just a few minutes, you can make a real difference.  Please link to our portal below and have your say NOW.  And please share this message and this call to action with your friends, colleagues, customers, and social media contacts today.

Our grassroots army helped kill the misguided Grassley Amendment a few weeks ago.  Now, together, we can extinguish Hemp Prohibition.  Forever.

What Is Legal and What Is Not??? “I was arrested for multiple felonies…in KNOX County Tennessee for possessing Industrial Hemp”

Pure Spectrum Video

Please view video above.

Following the passing of the 2014 Farm bill, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture launched the Industrial Hemp Research Program that would allow farmers and processors to begin the development of an industry. LINK

There has been some disconcerting news showing up on social      media in the past few days.  It seems the DEA may be trying to push buttons…

They picked the right words for it, “Hemp Research” Bill, because that is exactly what they have been doing since the research       started…using our Farmer’s to start an industry that they damn well knew they would not let them keep for very long.  The idea is to let the Farmer’s do the work for the start-up so that they think that they are accomplishing a great feat, (which they are), and then yank it right out from under them via the DEA and hand it over to the Pharmaceutical Conglomerates where they can make big money by controlling our access to the Cannabis plant.

The fact is that it was not “Marijuana” that they were worried about infiltrating the Nation, it was controlling the Hemp and now the CBD.  Marijuana is just the control button so to speak.

It all comes back around to the NWO and Agenda 21 to control the masses.  (If you control the food – and medicine, you control the people).  But first they want to make sure that everyone wants and/or needs what they are going to take control of.  Once the market starts to bloom, it’s time to take it back.

I first noticed a problem about two months ago when Stripe discontinued merchant services for the U.S. Marijuana Party, stating it was a prohibited business.  I sell nothing but T-Shirts, lol.  I went to my bank and asked them about it and sure enough, they weren’t accepting any “marijuana related” business either.  So, I have no way to sell T-Shirts Laughing out loud online at this time. Unless I want an offshore bank          account!

On July 18th, Brady Bell broke the news that USPS was, as of the 17th “…ceasing all shipping of hemp/CBD products. The inspector said they are going to start confiscating any products that violate their stance…”

PureSpectrum-BradyBell

PureSpectrum-BradyBell2

And so it begins…

Jaime Rothensteinenheimer is feeling heartbroken

I was arrested for multiple felonies at 1pm Wednesday July 18, 2018 in KNOX County Tennessee for possessing Industrial Hemp. My charges are Possession of Sched 6 drugs with Intent to Deliver (marijuana). The COA and 3rd Party Lab Reports were with the hemp products. I was forced to sleep on the porch of a Fireplace Store in Sevierville, TN until the impound opened to retrieve my vehicle. I am being arraigned tomorrow morning at 10am in Knox County Courthouse for Multiple felony charges.

On Wednesday July 18, 2018 at 11am the DEA raided my suppliers warehouses in SC and FL, took controlled samples for testing and went about their business. No charges yet .  On Friday July 20,2018 the Atlantic Beach Police Dept had me sign a form to allow the Search of my business, Terp Market and Lounge, due to the City Commission claiming that “nefarious” characters were coming and going. I complied and the detectives were very polite. It still grinds my gears that we are doing positive things in the community and are getting treated like criminals over a PLANT.     LINK  

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From Brady Bell, of Pure Spectrum CBD, Colorado…

As an industry we have to take a stand. I now know why this is happening. GW Pharmaceuticals are the reason behind this with their lobbying efforts. It’s time the industry takes a stand and we file a class action lawsuit on GW Pharmaceuticals. I have the plan in motion. I will be reaching out to owners and anyone else that wants to join the battle. Feel free to email me, Brady@purespectrumcbd.com. We have the legal team and direction. The rest will require unity. LINK

EVERYONE in the CANNABIS business, whether legal or not, whether it is Hemp or Marijuana/Cannabis that you sell, or USE for medicine or recreationally,  should pay very close attention to what is happening right now.  The quality of Our lives  very much depends upon what happens with Cannabis.

Hemp almost legal as Big Pharma moves in on CBD

Please read the above linked article.

On my end, I am concerned about the control of Cannabis/Hemp and  the regulations which will follow legalization and what it means to the prison industrial complex.  I am concerned about the right to grow a Cannabis plant in my yard and use it personally for medicine and pleasure.  I am concerned about all the children and other people who were so wrongly denied the Cannabis plant since 1937 and before, who so badly needed it as a medication, which was ALREADY IN THE PHARMACOPEIA IN 1900’S, but that the Government pulled out from under them in the name of commerce. 

DEA guidance is clear: Cannabidiol is illegal and always has been

Cannabis, Hemp, Marijuana are all born from the same species.  Don’t let them divide us!

NEVER say legalize!  ALWAYS push for REPEAL of the CANNABIS Plant as a “whole”… 

When it is freed to the People of this Country, and it is no longer a crime to possess or grow on our own property, or use in our own homes, and the Hemp Farmers are free to grow and sell their Hemp plants AND products, then it can be produced by the          Pharma’s as a medication and THEIR products can be labeled as “CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES”!

Until then, Pharma should not be allowed to profit, or produce, any Cannabis medications!

smk

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is conducting an Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program as authorized by KRS 260.850-260.869, and 7 U.S.C.§ 5940 (also known as Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill).  Industrial hemp plants, leaf, floral materials, and viable seed materials remain a Schedule I Controlled Substance under state and federal law; no person can grow, handle, broker, or process industrial hemp in Kentucky without a license issued by the KDA. For more information on applications, please visit the Applications for the Hemp Program page.  Industrial Hemp is a Controlled Substance and requires a KDA License to Grow, Handle, Process, or Market LINK


Legislative Research: KY SB50 | 2017 | Regular Session

Hemp in Kentucky

U.S. Senate Votes To Legalize Hemp After Decades-Long Ban Under Marijuana Prohibition

Tom Angell , Contributor

The non-psychoactive cannabis cousin of marijuana would finally become legal to grow in the United States under a bill overwhelmingly approved by the Senate.

The wide-ranging agriculture and food policy legislation known as the Farm Bill, passed by a vote of 86 – 11 on Thursday, contains provisions to legalize the cultivation, processing and sale of industrial hemp.

The move, championed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), would also make hemp plants eligible for crop insurance.

“Consumers across America buy hundreds of millions in retail products every year that contain hemp,” McConnell said in a floor speech on Thursday. “But due to outdated federal regulations that do not sufficiently distinguish this industrial crop from its illicit cousin, American farmers have been mostly unable to meet that demand themselves. It’s left consumers with little choice but to buy imported hemp products from foreign-produced hemp.”

McConnell also took to the Senate floor on Tuesday and Wednesday to tout the bill’s hemp legalization provisions in separate speeches.

In April, the GOP leader introduced standalone legislation to legalize hemp, the Hemp Farming Act, the provisions of which were included in the larger Farm Bill when it was unveiled earlier this month.

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry approved the bill by a vote of 20-1 two weeks ago.

During that committee markup, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), one of Congress’s most ardent opponents of marijuana law reform, threatened to pursue serious changes to the bill’s hemp provisions on the floor. Namely, he wanted to remove the legalization of derivatives of the cannabis plant, such as cannabidiol (CBD), which is used by many people for medical purposes. But Grassley never ended up filing a floor amendment, allowing hemp supporters to avoid a contentious debate and potentially devastating changes to the bill.

Hemp legalization enjoys broad bipartisan support.

“Legalizing hemp nationwide ends decades of bad policymaking and opens up untold economic opportunity for farmers in Oregon and across the country,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said upon passage of the Farm Bill on Thursday. “Our bipartisan legislation will spur economic growth in rural communities by creating much-needed red, white and blue jobs that pay well. I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues to get the bipartisan Hemp Farming Act through the Senate. Today marks a long-overdue, huge step forward for American-grown hemp.”

BIG news for industrial hemp farming! Today, the Senate passed my bipartisan #HempFarmingAct, legislation that would lift a decades-old ban on growing industrial hemp on American soil. #RonReport pic.twitter.com/r0fBzseRIh

— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) June 28, 2018

Earlier this month, the Senate approved a nonbinding resolution recognizing hemp’s “growing economic potential.”

“For the first time in 80 years, this bill legalizes hemp. We forget, but hemp was widely grown in the United States throughout the mid-1800s,” Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) said in a floor speech on Wednesday. “Americans used hemp in fabrics, wine, and paper. Our government treated industrial hemp like any other farm commodity until the early 20th century, when a 1937 law defined it as a narcotic drug, dramatically limiting its growth. This became even worse in 1970 when hemp became a schedule I controlled substance. In Colorado, as is true across the country–I have talked to a lot of colleagues about this–we see hemp as a great opportunity to diversify our farms and manufacture high-margin products for the American people.”

McConnell’s standalone hemp bill currently has 29 cosponsors signed on—17 Democrats, nine Republicans and two independents.

A Congressional Research Service report released last week says that the “global market for hemp consists of more than 25,000 products.”

House Republican leaders blocked a vote to make hemp legalization part of that chamber’s version of the Farm Bill. But now that the language is included in the version approved by the Senate, it will be part of discussions by the bicameral conference committee that will merge both chambers’ bills into a single piece of legislation to be send to President Trump’s desk. All indications are that McConnell, as the most powerful senator, will fight hard for the survival of his hemp proposal.

A White House statement of administration policy released this week outlining concerns with the Farm Bill does not mention its hemp legalization provisions.

In 2014, McConnell included provisions to allow limited state-authorized hemp research programs in that year’s version of the Farm Bill.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner cheered the passage of the new hemp provisions on Thursday..

For farmers across KY, there is no piece of legislation more important than the #FarmBill. I am excited that @SenateMajLdr’s #HempFarmingAct made it into this measure, which will allow states to unleash the full economic potential of our industrial hemp pilot programs. #KyAg365 pic.twitter.com/HjU6OGKNjZ

— Commissioner Quarles (@KYAgCommish) June 28, 2018

Tom Angell publishes Marijuana Moment news and founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Follow Tom on Twitter for breaking news and subscribe to his daily newsletter.

CONTINUE READING…

RELATED:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3530/text?format=txt

http://www.cannabisbusinesstimes.com/article/industrial-hemp-farm-bill-mcconnell/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp_Farming_Act_of_2018

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp_in_Kentucky

Breaking News: Senate Ag. Committee leaders agree on bipartisan Farm Bill language that will include a hemp reform provision

Happy Hemp History Week!

Each year we end up having some great news to report during Hemp History Week and this year is no different. Vote Hemp was in Washington yesterday for our lobby day with participants from around the country who conducted more than 70 meetings advocating for passage of legislation to bring back commercial hemp farming in the U.S.

While we were on the Hill, Senate Agriculture leaders announced they are releasing a new bipartisan Farm Bill today and hope to have it passed before the end of June. Yesterday during a Lobby Day meeting, Sen. Boozman (R-AR) informed us that Senator Roberts and Senator Stabenow have included language from the Hemp Farming Act language in the base bill. This is huge news!

The Farm Bill is must pass legislation that has to be reauthorized every 5 years. This is our best chance yet to legalize commercial hemp farming.

This week we also saw Sen. McConnell and Senator Wyden pass a resolution via unanimous consent commemorating Hemp History Week. Senator Wyden also spoke about the need to pass the Hemp Farming Act on the Senate floor:

Wyden: Hemp History Week and Urging Congress to Allow American Farmers to Grow Hemp

We have the wind at our back thanks to your support. Together we will bring hemp farming back to American agriculture.

Eric Steenstra

President, Vote Hemp

DONATE NOW

Congressional Republicans Block Votes On Hemp Amendments

Published 2 days ago on May 16, 2018 By Tom Angell

In the latest development in a series of anti-cannabis moves, congressional Republican leadership has blocked consideration of several industrial hemp amendments.

Supporters were seeking to attach the measures to the large-scale Farm Bill, which sets food and agriculture policy for the country, but the House Rules Committee on Wednesday decided that the proposals cannot be considered on the floor.

The anti-cannabis chairman of the panel did, however, reveal that a broader deal for industrial hemp might be in the works.

One of the measures the committee killed, submitted by Reps. James Comer (R-KY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), along with a bipartisan list of cosponsors, would have legalized hemp and made it eligible for crop insurance.

“Hemp is a crop with a long and rich history in our country,” Comer said in introducing his amendment before the committee. “It was grown by many of our founding fathers.”

Comer, who is a former Kentucky agriculture commissioner, said his state’s existing industrial hemp research program, which is authorized under a previous Farm Bill enacted in 2014, “has been a great success.”

He also spoke about the economic potential of the plant. “Times are tough in rural america,” he said. “For rural Kentuckians, industrial hemp has provided a new crop and business opportunity.”

But in a party-line move, the committee voted 8 to 3 to reject a motion to add Comer’s amendment to the list of proposals approved for floor consideration.

Another hemp amendment, filed by Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Jared Polis (D-CO), would have removed hemp from the list of federally banned substances.

A third proposal, submitted by Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), sought to create “a safe harbor for financial institutions that provide services to hemp legitimate businesses” that operate under state-authorized research programs.

“There is a proud history in American and in Kentucky [for hemp] as an agriculture product,” Barr said when testifying for his amendment, noting that it can be used in over 25,000 products.

Under current law, banks that work with legitimate hemp companies “fear reprisal from federal regulators,” Barr said, arguing that his proposed measure would protect financial institutions “from unnecessary interference from bank examiners and regulators” and give producers rights that “every other American crop enjoys.”

The committee did not hold specific votes on those two measures.

Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) has made a consistent practice of blocking cannabis measures from advancing over the past several years.

Sessions, seemingly mistakenly, told Comer during the Wednesday hearing that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has “a clause…that industrial hemp should be declassified under their Schedule I drugs, which they concur, which is the position you hold, too.”

A hemp lobbyist told Marijuana Moment in an email that he had not heard of the DEA taking a pro-hemp position.

Polis, who as a Rules Committee member made the unsuccessful motion to let the full House vote on Comer’s amendment, argued that hemp is a “common sense area” that enjoys bipartisan support. The measure, he said, would simply “treat industrial hemp as the agricultural commodity that it is.”

While Sessions and other GOP panel members were not swayed, the chairman did hint just before the vote that there may still be hope for hemp reform, saying that the issue would be “determined by an agreement that would be reached” with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

McConnell last month filed a hemp legalization bill, which Comer’s amendment closely modeled. Fully a fifth of the Senate is now signed on as cosponsoring that legislation, and the majority leader has already announced plans to attach his hemp language to the version of the Farm Bill being considered by the Senate this month.

While it is unclear what exactly Sessions was suggesting when he referred to an “agreement” with McConnell, it may have been a reference to the conference committee process that will merge the House and Senate’s respective versions of the Farm Bill into a single proposal after each chamber passes its legislation. If McConnell succeeds in attaching hemp legalization to the Senate bill, it would then be up for consideration as part of the final legislation sent to President Trump for signing into law.

In 2014, McConnell successfully inserted a provision to prevent federal interference in hemp research programs in that year’s version of the Farm Bill.

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  RulesReps  Streamed live on May 16, 2018                            Rules Committee Hearing for May 16, 2018.

Hemp brings jobs and more than $16.7 million in sales to Kentucky

Beth Warren, Louisville Courier Journal Published 11:57 a.m. ET May 1, 2018

A report card of sorts grading hemp’s impact on Kentucky showed these scores:

Eighty-one new full-time jobs. More than $16.7 million in gross product sales. And $7.5 million for farmers.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles included these figures from last year in an April 24 letter to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul calling hemp’s economic impact “significant.”

“My goal is to make Kentucky an epicenter for hemp farmers and processors,” Quarles wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained this week by Courier Journal.

He said he wants Kentucky to “have a head start in the race against competitors in other states,” as he anticipates Congress will remove the crop from the list of federally controlled substances. McConnell is pushing for this legislative change to remove a barrier inhibiting the versatile plant some call marijuana’s kissing cousin. This would clear up confusion about whether its products are or aren’t legal.

The push to legalize: Mitch McConnell is fighting hard to legalize hemp

More info: Are you breaking the law when you buy hemp products?

Police have fought the legalization of hemp since 2012, complaining that they can’t easily decipher hemp from marijuana, said Tommy Loving, head of the Kentucky Narcotics Officers’ Association.

McConnell was key to the federal “2014 Farm Bill” that gave states the power to allow industrial hemp and to test the market to see if consumers would buy its products — which range from “superfood” seeds to clothing and cannabidiol or CBD oils used to treat headaches. The Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol — a psychoactive compound better known as THC — was limited to 0.3, a negligible amount that won’t allow for a buzz.

In Kentucky, hemp can only be grown with the approval of state agriculture officials while it remains a controlled substance. Quarles said other states have called for help modeling their program after the one Kentucky uses.

Reporter Beth Warren: bwarren@courier-journal.com; 502-582-7164; Twitter @BethWarrenCJ. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/bethw.

Hemp vs pot: Can you get high off hemp? More info on marijuana’s ‘kissing cousin’

Hemp instead of opioids?: Hemp is ‘the next big thing’ in pain management as growth and research expand in Kentucky

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Thailand’s Legendary Marijuana

Thailand's Legendary Marijuana

Recently, there have been signs that the Thai government is softening its stance on marijuana.

By Peter Maguire

April 30, 2018

For decades, Thailand was one of America’s most resolute allies in the war on drugs. After zero tolerance policies left the Kingdom with the highest rate of incarceration in Asia and a methamphetamine (ya ba) epidemic that not even the most draconian measures could stop, Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya shocked the nation in 2016 when he conceded that “the world has lost the war on drugs.” Not only did he suggest legalizing methamphetamine, Koomchaya urged his countrymen to view the drug epidemic through the lens of public health, rather than law enforcement. Today, many hope that this new laissez-faire approach will lead to the legalization of the legendary marijuana that was once among the Kingdom’s most famous and valuable exports.

After the United States built military bases in Thailand during the 1960s and stationed tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers there, the marijuana industry exploded and cheap, powerful pot became as readily available as beer.

“They tie together. Put the stick. Make it nice. Sell for GI easy. One, two, or five for one dollar,” recalled a Thai smuggler who got his start selling pot to U.S. soldiers. “Whatever place GI go, it started whenever they need.” 

“With an eighty-cent bottle of gin purchased at the PX,” one Vietnam veteran remembers, “you could trade for a pack of twenty Thai sticks.”

Thai Sticks c. 1974. Photo Michael Ferguson

The first Thai marijuana to reach the United States came in the 1960s via the Army Post Office. The difference between Thai marijuana and most Vietnamese and Cambodian cannabis, was the difference between bathtub corn whiskey and single malt scotch. In 1967, one amazed DEA agent to called it “the Cuban cigar of the marijuana world.”

“Who can forget the first strange-looking Thai Sticks a decade ago! Dense, seedless, stronger than a bull elephant. Years before sophisticated sinsemilla techniques were incorporated into the crop management of U.S. growers,” wrote High Times magazine, the journal of record for pot connoisseurs, “the Thais were, without effort, turning out a superior product.” What sold for $3 per kilo at the farm in Isan, easily fetched $4,000 a kilo in any city in the United States in the early 1970s.

The foreign demand for marijuana produced a boom in Thailand’s poorest region during the 1970s and 80s. North of Udorn on the banks of the Mekong sits Isan, a plateau as large as many American states (62,000 square miles) that floods during monsoon season and is arid and dusty during the dry season. Although rice fields are hard to irrigate and do not yield much, marijuana thrives thanks to the Mekong River, whose tributaries replenish the region with rich, silty soil. Farmers in Northeast Thailand take the same care with their cannabis plants that French vintners take with their grapevines.

“They know how to grow so nice, I mean how to take care of the flower, how to take out the male plant,” said one retired Thai marijuana broker. After they harvested and dried the cannabis sativa flowers (buds), the farmers and their families neatly and uniformly tied them to small bamboo sticks and secured them with threads of hemp fiber. 

What made the criminalization of marijuana particularly difficult, not just in Thailand, but certain parts of Southeast Asia, was that it was considered little more than a medicinal or cooking herb with little or no local legal or moral stigma attached. The plant had grown in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam for centuries and various preparations were used to treat:  migraine headaches, cholera, malaria, dysentery, asthma, digestion, parasites, and post-childbirth pain.

“Almost every corner, every house, they have it in the yard growing. The older people, they will like it. The working heavy guy, he will like it,” said one retired Thai grower, “but they use for medicine also, when you really feel fever. So if you have nothing there, you can get like one branch, and ground it up.” 

Under Thailand’s 1934 Marijuana Act, penalties for any amount of the plant could not exceed one year in prison. When criticized by American officials for tolerating cannabis, Thailand leaders were quick to remind them that drug abuse was not part of their culture.

“The United States has been able to send men to the Moon. It has built sophisticated weapons for its own defense. Why can’t it do anything effective about narcotics getting to its shores,” Prime Minister Kriangsak Chamanan said in 1977. He reminded the Americans of the rules of capitalism, “Where there are markets, there is bound to be trade, either legal or illegal.” This point was echoed by Alfred McCoy, in his magisterial study, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, “Driven by myopic moralism, U.S. policy ignores the fundamental dynamics of the drug trade. Over the past two centuries, narcotics have become the major global commodities that operate on fluid laws of supply and demand not susceptible to simple repression.” 

A load of Thai Sticks Intercepted by Thai police. Photo Bangkok Post.

During the 1980s, the U.S. government was able to convince and coerce Thailand to partner with them in a war against marijuana. In 1988 alone, the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted eight “motherships” that carried 463,000 pounds of Southeast Asian marijuana bound for American shores. However, in the end, the “victory” was Pyrrhic because Thai drug users replaced cannabis with methamphetamine that is today responsible for 90 percent of that nation’s drug arrests.

Recently, there have been signs that the Thai government is softening its stance on marijuana. A research team at Rangsit University received permission from Thailand’s Narcotics Control Board and made a cannabis extract spray for cancer patients. In April, Dr. Arthit Uraitat, the rector of Rangsit University, called on Thailand’s military leaders to legalize medical marijuana.

“Be brave. Let us use medical marijuana legally regardless of the method,” he said in a press conference, “Those who have cancer, they cannot wait. They need the help now, so I think we need to take every shortcut possible.”

Last week, a private company called the Thai Cannabis Corporation announced the start of a five-year cannabis project that will cultivate 5,000 hectares (12,355 acres) of the plant in the next five years. The Royal Project Foundation will oversee this effort and Maejo University will provide research support. Thai Cannabis Corporation’s objective is to establish a low-cost model to grow, harvest, and process cannabis plants into oils and extracts. Initially, they will focus on breeding high CBD (cannabidiol) cannabis strains that contain minimal amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in order to comply with the laws of Thailand. “The mission of the Royal Project Foundation is to research and develop appropriate technology to sustainably improve the quality of life for Thailand’s highland communities. I quite agree with the Thai Cannabis Project,” said the director of the Royal Project Foundation Dr. Vijit Thanormthin. 

The Royal Project Foundation was established and funded by King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1969. An early advocate of sustainable farming, the king sought to improve the quality of life of Thailand’s hill tribes by replacing opium with other crops and also revitalizing Thailand’s forests and safeguarding their water resources for future generations.  Cannabis fits very neatly into the Royal Project Foundation’s mandate given that Thailand’s hill tribes were once the world’s premier marijuana growers. The nation is already exporting packaged food, beverages, essential oils, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and cosmetics. Why not marijuana?

While the Thai Cannabis Corporation hopes to include the marijuana that Thailand was once world famous for in their product line, they will only go as rapidly as the law and Thai government will allow. “The mission of the Thai Cannabis Corporation,” said CEO Timothy Luton, “is to provide an excellent return to shareholders by partnering with Thailand’s farmers and scientific researchers to make, at high volumes and affordable prices, cannabis products that are above reproach.”

Thailand’s slow shift towards marijuana legalization stands in stark contrast to America’s anarchic “Green Rush,” the greatest exhibition of human greed since gold was discovered in California in 1849. Unlike Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, a foreign army has never occupied Thailand and they have staved off foreign invaders for centuries. Generations of Western businessmen have been baffled by their unique and refined Buddhist sensibility that often seems to value mental equilibrium and social grace as much as profit. 

However, behind the smile and behind the wai are some of the toughest people on earth. Rapacious western marijuana speculators looking to get rich quick would be wise to heed the words of Townsend Harris, the American envoy to Siam (Thailand), who wrote in 1856: “It is an old saying here [in Bangkok] that those who come here for business should bring one ship loaded with patience, another loaded with presents, and a third ship for carrying away the cargo.”

Peter Maguire is the author of Thai Stick:  Surfers, Scammers, and the Untold Story of the Marijuana Trade, Facing Death in Cambodia, and Law and War: International Law and American History. He has taught history at Columbia University, Bard College, and the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

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https://thaicannabiscorporation.com/