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Tea Leaves

In Thailand, hold the drinks and pass the cannabis

Thais embrace new 'ganja' craze but adhere to draconian alcohol restrictions

A man is dressed for the occasion at a marijuana legalization expo in Buriram, Thailand, on June 10. (Getty Images)

At a recent dinner party in an elegant Bangkok apartment, a matronly socialite unveiled a tray of exquisitely packaged cakes for dessert, proudly exclaiming, "happy brownies -- such fun, good with ice-cream, do have one." The key ingredient, cannabis, ensured the VIP guests went home in pleasantly woozy style.

Not long ago, passing around marijuana-laced brownies in Thailand could lead to a criminal charge and a heavy fine -- or even a jail term for selling such products. In many other Asian countries, it can still end in imprisonment. Yet in Thailand, while methamphetamine and other illicit substances are at the front line of the government's promised "war on drugs," cannabis -- or "ganja" as it's popularly known here -- is riding high as the new "glamour drug" of choice, officially approved and even promoted.

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