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Thailand, Weed and Banking (1)

The decision by Thailand to permit, indeed encourage, the cultivation and use of cannabis (within constraints) puts it at odds with all of its neighbours and all other members of ASEAN. And it raises serious concerns for banks, et al.

The article in The Diplomat, from 2018, says ″there have been signs that the Thai government is softening its stance on marijuana.″ The article starts ″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.”″

It then goes on to say that a Justice Minister had suggested legalising methamphetamine.

While meth, an artificial drug created in a lab, remains absolutely banned, Thailand in June this year legalised the possession and use of cannabis. What the world is concerned about is not the back-garden grower of a few pot plants for the use of the grower and his mates but the wholesale, large scale, production. And with ideal conditions in the north, it’s a far from unrealistic proposition.

Thailand gets empty jails - amnesties are being arranged for non-violent dealers and users. The rest of the region gets a headache.

What all of this means, then, is that, the risk of drugs money being involved in dealings with Thailand has not significantly changed as a result of the policy introduced in June 2022.

But something has changed. Now there are two quite specific problems.

1. If the money generated from dealing in cannabis in Thailand by a Thai national is legal in Thailand, is it legal everywhere?

2. Is the money generated from dealing in cannabis in Thailand by a non- Thai national is legal in Thailand and if so, is it legal everywhere?

Continued at Part 2 tomorrow.
Further reading is here

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Nigel Morris-Co...