Things are getting increasing tense between China and Taiwan. China believes Taiwan is a breakaway from the country and insists united with the mainland. The citizens of Taiwan can see the their adversary from Kinmen Island (roughly 200 miles from the capital Taipei). Kinmen is only 6 miles away from China. Taiwan believes in its independence and it is a sovereign country. Under the previous US administration, China began making bolder moves to encourage Taiwan to “return to the fold”. Taiwan has strongly resisted and is working to rally allies to their cause. Taiwan’s economy is driven by a heathy manufacturing sector including electronics, machinery, petrochemicals, and information and communications technology products. Taiwan produces over 60% of the world’s semiconductors and over 90% of the most advanced ones. All critical to the world’s computing.
While they battle, China and Taiwan share things in common, including bad marijuana policy.
China’s penalties for being caught with cannabis are severe. Offenders run the risk of receiving the death penalty for being in possession of just five kilograms or more. Additionally, strict sentences are imposed; anything from five years imprisonment to a life sentence. The government identified marijuana as a dangerous narcotic drug, and illegal to possess or use it. However, the cultivation of cannabis for industrial purposes (hemp) has never been prohibited in China. Medical marijuana been around for about two thousand years using the cannabis seed. Today the seeds are primarily used for a laxative. The country has a population of 1.4+ billion and in 2017, the most recent source, states they have 24,000 citizens who consume. China tightly controls information with their own versions of Amazon (Alibaba), Google (Baidu) and Facebook (WeChat) which are highly censored.
In Taiwan under the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act, those found guilty of using marijuana face a maximum penalty of three years in prison. Possession with intention to sell carries a minimum sentence of five years with a fine of up to $164,000 USD. Today, only four types of medicine containing THC are permitted for patient use and are tightly controls. Taiwan’s population is 23.5 million with under 250,000 who consume. These are mostly young people who receive their information from global social media. This helps them avoid the government messaging on the ills of marijuana as they have access to global social media.
According to observational data published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network Open, patients suffering from pain, cancer, anxiety, and insomnia report significant, sustained improvements in their health-related quality of life following the use of medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is legal in 40 states and recreationally in 23 since it has science and data to verify the use.
Europe’s take on medical marijuana is with no unique list of pathologies that can be treated with cannabis-based drugs, they see it as not a cure, but rather a palliative treatment. Medical marijuana is legal in large parts of Europe, but recreational is just becoming popular.
China and Taiwan’s conservative culture toward marijuana is startling since Eastern Medicine uses a more holistic approach incorporating plants and other aspects toward health.
Perhaps their shared animosity toward marijuana could be a starting point for discussions of common ground and finding more benefits for both sets of citizens.