Red Brick Daily

If you were hoping to get a super-sticky prescription for your ‘glaucoma’ in Taiwan anytime soon … prepare to have your dreams go up in smoke.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health and Welfare are not down at all with the idea of maybe relaxing the legal status of cannibis.

In a harsh move … officials would not even look at an e-petition signed by 5000 people that urged cannabis be downgraded to a Category 3 drug and its use in medical treatment legalized.


Category 2 drugs under Taiwan’s Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例) include opium, coca, amphetamine … and their derivative products.

Cannabis is also a category 2 drug in Taiwan.



(China Post/Pot farm busted in Nantou – July 2009)

Should pot be downgraded to Category 3  — a group which includes ketamine — punishment could in many cases be a fine of less than NT$50,000 … and a stern warning.

Using completely ass-backwards logic, Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang (陳明堂) said they held meetings on decriminalizing cannabis … but officials at the meeting cited the nation’s ketamine problem as a reason NOT to downgrade weed.

While any downgrading would almost certainly see an increase in cannabis use … maybe fewer people would be destroying their bladders, minds and lives by snorting horse tranquilizers if they could puff a little magic dragon instead … no?

Officials and academics in Taiwan say cannabis is addictive (which is unproven) and its decriminalization would exacerbate the nation’s existing drug problem (which is hard to comment on as the future is known to be unpredictable).



(Customs Today – marijuana seized from growers in Taipei, May 2015)

The e-petition garnered more than 5,000 signatures since July … exceeding the threshold for receiving consideration from the government.

The internets were very displeased after the gov’t dismissively rejected the e-petition … and commentators blasted ministry officials for their “paternalistic, conservative mindset.”



(CNA – The marijuana plants grown by an American in Changhua. The 41-year-old father of two killed himself in court after being sentenced to a four-year term in June 2016)

They added that Taiwan has not kept up with more “progressive nations” on the issue of decriminalization, called on the government to hold public forums to discuss the issue and noted that possession of cannabis for medical use has been legalized in Canada, Australia, many EU countries, 25 states in the U.S. — as well as in Washington D.C.

Legalization of medical or recreational marijuana is also on the ballot this year in nine U.S. states, including California, Arizona, Florida, Nevada and North Dakota.

Critics, however, brought out the old “gateway” theory and predicted zombified pothead addicts roaming the streets … desperate for their next “hit” as they cause a surge in crime.

—Some people obviously need some sort of medicine to help them chill.



(Red Brick Daily/CNA – Local rapper ‘UnderLover’ after his arrest for consuming marijuana in September 2016)

What’s your take?

Legalization might not work in Taiwan yet, but how about if we start by not locking people up for smoking a vegetable?