Singapore Must Legalise Cannabis Like Thailand, Said Activists

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Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced that it will recriminalise cannabis by the end of this year. It has only been 2 years since they legalised it. It is no surprise then, that the u-turn was not welcomed by locals who have just started weed farms and businesses.

Why the u-turn?

One of the reasons for re-listing cannabis as a narcotic was to save the country. Many young people in Thailand have become addicts. According to a sample study, close to 40% of Thais aged between 15 and 24 are involved with illicit drugs. This means that around 2.7 million youths are doing drugs, of which 300,000 require drug treatment.

It does not help that the country is in close proximity to the Golden Triangle.

Ever since Thailand liberalised cannabis, there has been a boost in drug trade around its borders. Meth trade activities saw a boom. Last year, there was also a record haul of illicit drugs by the Thai authorities – 15 million meth tablets and 420kg crystal meth were seized.

This is not the worst. The United Nations drug agency reported that illegal drug trade will not slow down in the region. Thai authorities are therefore struggling to keep things under control.

Should we follow Thailand’s footsteps?

Two years ago, some activists in Singapore supported Thailand’s move to decriminalise cannabis. They pushed for us to do the same and argued that our drug laws are unnecessary and outdated. Activist Kirsten Han even said that it is not drugs, but our drug policies, that affect the marginalised in our society. The Transformative Justice Collective also wrote:

“It is illogical to know that countries nearby are enjoying cannabis in food and beverages, and using it for its medical benefits, while our country is executing people for the very same substance. It is difficult to accept that… we are in a country that not only jails and punishes people for cannabis-related offences, but also wants to take our lives for it.”

Do these words hold true now that Thailand is doing a u-turn? Is the Singapore government, like what they claimed, old-fashioned and shortsighted? Would it be wise for Singapore to decriminalise cannabis and make ourselves susceptible to the dangerous drug trade in the region? If so, how do these social justice warriors propose we do it without facing the same repercussions as Thailand, and are they prepared to answer for it when things go south?

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