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Eswatini: Marijuana Growers Are Opposing Proposed Cannabis Reform Marijuana activists and farmers in Eswatini (previously called Swaziland) are raising their voices against the medical marijuana legalization bill, writes Semafor Africa.
What happened: The southern African Kingdom of Eswatini is looking to reform its century-old drug laws by legalizing marijuana for medical and research purposes. However, cannabis advocates in the country say that the proposed law disrupts the current trade, which has been helping many families eke out a living for decades.
Marijuana farmers argue that the legislation is crafted in a way that would only serve the kingdom’s upper class, while they will suffer the economic consequences.
Eswatini Cannabis Association (ECA) chair Saladin Magagula told Semafor that the measure is aimed only at establishing a new regulator, the Medicines Regulatory Authority (MRA), which will be allowed to import, export, and trade wholesale, cannabis and cannabis products. “They cannot be both the referee and the player at the same time,” Magagula said. “You cannot as an authority give yourself an export and import license while also issuing the same to people.”
Marijuana farmers are afraid that under the proposed law they will have to compete with wealthy businesses.
Eswatini cannabis is popular under the name “Swazi Gold” and is often praised for its high potency and medical properties. The country's traditional marijuana farmers would rather continue to be in a difficult position regarding the regulation than see the reform that would undermine their operations.
Unfortunately, many are not optimistic about the proposed amendments from Eswatini Cannabis Association being included, because of the organization’s lack of political power in this absolute monarchy.
What will happen to marijuana legacy growers in Eswatini where healers are known to recommend cannabis for medical purposes remains to be seen. Thailand: New Tourism Haven For Cannabis Travellers
Thailand has gotten a reputation as the new mecca for marijuana tourism, reported I News.
What happened: In 2018, Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to legalize medical marijuana and now, just four years later it continues with the reform to become the first in the region to decriminalize cannabis.
While the country has faced criticism since then, mostly due to the lack of regulation and chaotic launch of sales, it seems that there was no turning back. Soon cannabis shops sprung up as part of a desperate need to revive its pandemic-struck tourism industry.
One marijuana cafe owner told the outlet that the country has welcomed many celebrities since the cannabis reform. It seems that for many tourists, loser laws on weed were one of the primary motives to visit these already popular tourist spots with several paradise islands. Thailand is getting a reputation as the “Amsterdam of Asia” luring in visitors from around the world. One Canadian tourist on the island of Ko Phangan said that cannabis was a “dealmaker” for them. “Once we heard weed was legal here, let’s go,” the tourist said. An owner of the Highland cannabis cafe in eastern Bangkok, Arun “Max” Avery said “It’s already beyond Amsterdam, since Amsterdam is still quite regulated but here, it’s as free as humanly imaginable. If anything, Amsterdam is the Bangkok of the West!”
However, Avery added that “politically it’s a whole new story. Right now, it’s all about political gain and how each party will play their game.” It seems that Avery was spot on considering that the country’s health minister, marijuana advocate, and candidate for Prime Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul turned up at his voting site for Sunday’s national elections wearing a dark shirt with bright green marijuana leaves.
Philippines: Senior Deputy Speaker Refiles Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill
Former Philippine president and current deputy speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo filed a medical marijuana bill, joining the former House speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in support of cannabis legalization for medicinal purposes, reported PhilStar Global.
“The use of cannabis for medical purposes is provided for by both existing international and national law,” reads House Bill 7817. The bill is a re-filing of HB 6517 that Macapagal-Arroyo filed in the previous 18th Congress.
Arroyo said this legislation seeks a harmonious physician-patient partnership where no one is above the other
“I really believe in medical cannabis. As you know I have my problem here (cervical spine) and when I’m in a country that allows it, I put a pain patch, but here in the Philippines I cannot do it,” Macapagal-Arroyo previously said.