History of CBD and Cannabis In: Myanmar (Burma)
Some form of cannabis legalization is something which has occurred in many countries throughout the world. It has come in many forms, and very rarely as marijuana itself been outright legalized – instead, jail sentences have been reduced or medical marijuana access has been made possible.
This has occurred as a result of a remarkable shift in public opinion over the last fifteen years, as more scientific evidence has been published about the potential for marijuana to assist individuals who suffer from a variety of ills. Additionally, more and more people have come to the conclusion that they would rather have their government spend limited tax resources on treatment, rather than jail time.
Some countries have a long history with cannabis, and such is the case in Myanmar (formerly Burma), located in Southeastern Asia. Marijuana is illegal there, and efforts to control its use and trafficking are intensifying, with harsh penalties given for violating the law.
History of Cannabis in Myanmar
Cannabis in Myanmar was banned by British colonial rulers in 1874, although records indicate that demand for the substance continued.
Myanmar’s location in southeastern Asia has led to it being considered part of the “golden triangle” for drug trafficking, as drug producers work with locals to produce a variety of drugs (including marijuana) and move those drugs throughout southeastern Asia. Reports have noted that Myanmar’s relatively high levels of corruption have made it difficult to enforce sentences against those arrested.
Cannabis remains a profitable drug in the country, with many local workers producing the compound and moving it via local merchants or the sea.
Myanmar does have a history of using hemp in a variety of regular uses, such as for fabrics or clothing. Furthermore, some rural areas of the country have been known to use the compound as part of rituals or in other traditional ways.
Current Legal Status of Cannabis in Myanmar
Marijuana use remains illegal in Myanmar. This is for all possible uses, including recreational and medicinal. While there have been periodic protests and efforts to legalize the drug, they have not been met kindly by the Myanmar government: In November 2019, 100 people protested the government in Mahabandoola Park in Yangon, calling for the legalization of marijuana. Four other protests took place at the same time throughout the country. Instead, 11 people were arrested as part of that protest.
Punishments for violating Myanmar’s drug laws are stiff: 5-10 years in prison are possible for possession or cultivation, while trafficking may result in a sentence of ten years to life and can earn someone fifteen years in jail.
Myanmar’s government has, in the past, given permission for companies to grow hemp in the region. However, it’s law does not seem to differentiate between hemp and marijuana, and this has led to arrests. For example, In April 2019, the government arrested John Todoroki, an American, after police raided a hemp farm he was operating, claiming it was marijuana. Todoroki may face the death penalty.