Despite hazy cannabis regulations, there are weed people having fun right now in Thailand. At least, Ativat Janmuangthai is — he was just named the fastest joint roller in Phuket. The nimble-fingered, thirty-something took all of 43 seconds to roll a one-gram joint.
That may not sound too impressive to your freakish-fingered roller friend, but for what it’s worth, Reuters does say that the joint was “perfect.” The feat, which took place at the inaugural edition of the Phuket Cannabis Cup on March 25 at Pramookkoo Resort on Kata Beach, was enough to take home a cash bounty of 5,000 baht (about $146 USD).
We could find precious little information about the actual strain winner at the cup, but judging from Twitter accounts, the cup itself saw good attendance. It was organized by the Phuket Cannabis Association, whose president Poonwarit Wangpatravanich seemed quite positive about the drug’s future in his country when he talked to Reuters.
"Imagine what's going to happen if people fly right to Thailand just because of that (cannabis use). We're going to increase such a large amount of GDP in tourism for the whole (of) Thailand," he said.
It would seem that Thailand’s cannabis industry has not been entirely hobbled from recent political resistance to establishing a recreational industry. At the end of February, progress stalled regarding a draft of a legislative bill that would have firmed up regulations surrounding the use and potential sale of adult-use cannabis. At the moment, laws on the book limit cannabis use to medical purposes. And if you’re caught smoking in public, specifically in schools, temples, and shopping malls, can land you a fine that goes up to 25,000 baht, or $750 USD.
But don’t tell that to Cookies. The California-born cannabis multinational corporation opened its first branded Asian location in Bangkok back in January, where it immediately started selling grams of its flagship Girl Scout Cookies strain in 900 baht, or around $26 USD. Despite the be-logo’d tuk tuk and festive muay thai boxers kicking around the showroom, Cookies was quick to specify that the technical owner of the shop is one of CEO Berner’s affiliates and not the company itself.
There are other signs, of course, that Thai cannabis isn’t pumping the breaks until politicians can get their act together. Five-star resorts have trumpeted the addition of THC-infused meals to their lists of guest amenities. Weed trucks and brick-and-mortar dispensaries have popped up in the areas frequented by tourists in Bangkok. That’s despite the fact that some neighboring countries like Japan have made it quite clear that their residents run the risk of criminal detention back at home if they so much as smoke on their Thai vacation.
Even big-time weed boosters like the country’s health minister Anutin Charnvirakul have cautioned travelers against coming to town for 420 times.
Still, that’s no reason not to send our most heartfelt salute to Ativat Janmuangthai, winner of what we believe to be the first Thai joint-rolling contest ever reported on by Reuters. And shout-out to his friend that sung his praises for the international news service:
“He can even roll joints blindfolded. He's very fast," said #1 weed buddy Saksorn Sotornkittirat.