Death by hanging is the price 36-year-old Thitapah Charoenchuea will pay for possessing 40 pounds of marijuana. The Thai woman, a single mother of a 10-year-old daughter, was arrested in Malaysia. According to the U.S. State Department travel website, a person caught in Malaysia with 200 grams of marijuana, which is seven ounces, is presumed by law to be trafficking in drugs and will be given a mandatory death sentence.
A High Timesstory reports that the young woman had traveled from Bangkok without the bags that contained marijuana and had boarded an express bus to the capitol, Kuala Lumpur.
Charoenchuea claims that when the bus made a stopover, a man called Ali asked her to take care of two bags he had put in the luggage compartment of the bus. “Ali” said he would collect the bags in Kuala Lumpur, but he never got on the bus and she was busted for drug trafficking. Charoenchuea could have been a drug mule or drug traffickers could have duped her; no matter what the circumstances, she doesn’t deserve to die.
Charoenchuea was convicted by the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952. But the evidence is stacking up that marijuana is not, in fact, a dangerous drug.
Cannabis is by far the most widely consumed illicit drug on the planet despite decades of prohibition and “Just say no” anti-drug campaigns. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that between 125 million and 203 million people have used cannabis.
The reality is that millions of people safely consume cannabis. It is a benign, natural plant, certainly less harmful than alcohol, and has important medicinal properties.
Two U.S. states and one country have put an end to the reefer madness. Colorado and Washington both legalized the recreational use of marijuana and starting next year, residents of those states will be able to buy marijuana at state-regulated stores. In a stunning victory against the drug lords and the drug warriors of Latin America, Uruguay legalized marijuana this week, becoming the first country ever to do so.
Thitapah Charoenchuea is another victim of the worldwide war on drugs.
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