Taiwan Resists as Activists Launch Campaign to Legalize Marijuana


Activists in Taipei, inspired by new laws in components of the United States, kicked off a campaign this month to legalize marijuana, but they are offered low odds of a breakthrough against the regular anti-drug ethic of East Asia.

Some 300 people today launched their work April 20 with a demonstration outdoors the Taiwan parliament compound in Taipei. They asked that marijuana be regulated as a medication rather of as a drug – the possession of which carries 3 years in prison.

“We think this issue can be handled according to the guidelines on medication,” mentioned Luo Yi, spokesman for the group Green Sensation, which organized the demonstration. “To break it out and classify it as a drug we consider will not be valuable in solving any complications. We hope marijuana can be legalized and hope to market it very first for health-related use.”

The pro-marijuana campaign is unlikely to impact transform, a spokesman for the Taiwan justice ministry mentioned final week. A ruling celebration lawmaker referred to as Taiwan as well conservative to accept legalization.

If Taiwan legalized marijuana, it would be the second location in East Asia to go in that path following Thailand. Thai legislators agreed in December to enable the licensed health-related use of marijuana. Police across most of the area see marijuana as a drug worthy of fines and prison terms.

Colorful rally

At the April 20 demonstration, stalls displaying hemp clothes lined a blocked-off Taipei street. A disc jockey spun dance music from the rally stage exactly where people today in their 20s and 30s danced in colorful, loose-fitting garments.

Marijuana conveys a “culture” such as that of “hippies” in the United States, Luo mentioned. Today’s younger Taiwanese are “open” to the culture, he added. “Some of our people today have noticed investigation and reports from other nations and comprehend, hey, (marijuana) is not so negative following all,” he mentioned.

​Activists are taking legal cues from the United States, as properly. Extra than 30 U.S. states enable some kind of legal use.

Americans in Taiwan are typically shocked to face prison time when caught with tiny amounts of marijuana for individual use. In April final year, the de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan sent citizens an advisory citing an “increase in arrests connected to marijuana more than the final various months” and a reminder that “penalties for possession, use, promoting or trafficking of illegal drugs in Taiwan are serious.”

Green Sensation intends to hold a series of events more than the subsequent year like one more mass demonstration to advance its lead to. By early 2020, Luo mentioned, Green Sensation plans to strategy legislators as properly as nearby city council members to advocate alterations in marijuana-connected laws.

Slow transform

No legislator is keen now on introducing a legalized-marijuana bill, ruling celebration lawmaker Lee Chun-yi mentioned on Saturday. Taiwanese people today in basic have expressed tiny demand for altering the laws, he added.

“I consider Taiwan essentially is nevertheless a bit conservative, so to open that aspect of society now, I consider society has no way of accepting it,” he mentioned.

Even so, law enforcement academics and wellness officials have begun to talk about the laws on marijuana as usage becomes “more severe” more than the previous couple of years and authorities hope not to “lose handle,” mentioned Liao You-lu, a criminal investigation professor at Central Police University in Taiwan.

Marijuana instances are as well many now for police to learn all of them, Liao mentioned, as the substance has come to be an high-priced habit for Taiwan’s middle class. Overall health officials nevertheless see marijuana as risky sufficient to be regulated, he mentioned.

“Taiwan’s circumstance is nevertheless in a state of becoming controlled, simply because if you began to permit it, at very first it would come to be very significant,” Liao mentioned.


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