Cannabis in Taiwan

Ulp. Ok, I can confess to having been here a few times:

“all he can do is eat brownies.”

Ulp. Ok, I can confess to having been here a few times:

“all he can do is eat brownies.”[/quote]
You were a Boy Scout too?

I didn’t inhale. No seriously!


[quote=“the bear”][quote=“bakunin”]Nothing came up for ‘cannabis’ or ‘marijuana’ so here goes…

I am writing a novel about expat life on the edge on the fragrant isle. I seek to learn the following…

  1. Is cannabis a popular recreational drug among expats there?
  2. Is it usually home-grown or purchased?
  3. Whether self-grown or commercial - is it hydroponic or outdoor?
  4. What is the market price per pound/kilo/joint?
  5. What are the penalties for possession/distribution/importation of viable THCed seeds (not hemp seed)/paraphenalia (unused pipes [no residual resin] etc)/ personal use amounts?
  6. Have western foreigners been prosecuted for the above?
  7. What is the local entrepreneurial element in this cottage industry or is it indeed controlled by army/police as in some less developed Asian nations?
  8. Mainland China had the reputation (in some producing provinces only, and this is out of date) of tolerance to personal use - how does Taiwan compare to say Yunnan?
  9. Is cannabis historically used medicinally in TCM?
  10. Is there a legalization/decriminalization movement in Taiwan?
  11. What is standard bribe to pay off cops?
  12. Are expats happy with the current quality and price?
  13. Is supply consistent or erratic?

Thank you for any insights you may have from reading newspapers or talking about this phenomenon. This is not an advocacy of illegal activity, simply a studying of the facts.[/quote]

probably one of the dumber posts of recent times…no one in their right mind would discuss this openly on forumosa[/quote]

More importantly, he forgot the most important question.

  1. Psssst, dude, know where I can score some bud?

All honest responses are greatly appreciated (for the book I’m writing).

Forget Taiwan, dude. Singapore is where it’s at!


I really don’t understand why people are taking the piss out of Bakunin’s for his quite reasonable questions. My experience of cannabis use in Taiwan is zero but my nose has told me on several occasions that someone nearby was smoking it. I will try to answer some of your questions according to what I have read, heard and seen.

There is some use of cannabis by both expats and Taiwanese. Several local celebrities are known to have smoked it and have been “shamed” into apologising for their behaviour. As far as I know, illegal drug use in Taiwan is mostly amphetamines.

I think usually purchased but some people have tried growing it themselves.

I have seen cannabis paraphenalia on sale openly. I believe the importation of any kind of hemp seed is illegal. Some people got in trouble for innocently importing opium poppy seeds (mond) for baking. (I saw opium poppies growing in Austria, where the seeds are used as a crunchy topping on bread.)

Yes. Someone got done for growing it on his roof.

Some Taiwanese farmers have tried growing hemp and some have got busted, as reported in the media. I very much doubt that there is any army or police involvement.

This doesn’t answer your question, but, for your information:

  1. When I went to mountainous areas of Shanxi Province in 1982, I saw fields of hemp. When I enquired as to whether people smoked it, I was told that it was smoked by people who couldn’t afford tobacco. They also told me that if someone was smoking a cigarette, it was tobacco, but if he was smoking a pipe, it was hemp. I noticed that nearly all the smokers were smoking pipes.
  2. Smokers told me that the stuff growing wild around Mount Taishan in Shandong Province was pretty good.
  3. I saw it growing as a weed in Tiantan Park in Beijing.
  4. My sense of smell told me that many Chinese horsecart drivers smoked hemp to relieve the boredom of their job - especially the ones who had to cart tanks full of sewage.
  5. When I was in Beijing in 1991-2, cannabis resin could be bought cheaply and readily from members of a certain ethnic minority, and several foreign students I knew where partaking liberally. Vendors offered it to me as “hash-hash” many times.

It’s a bit dated but there you are anyway.

Yes, but I don’t know what for.

Yes, but not very organised. Calls for legalisation are seen from time to time in the weekly listings magazine “POTS”.

[quote]“Man whats the matter with that cat there?”
“must be full of reefer”
“full of reefer?!”
“yea man”
“you mean that cats high?!”
“sailing lightly”
“get away from here
Man is that the reefer man?”
“thats the reefer man”
“I belive hes losing his mind”
“I think hes lost his mind!”

Oh have you ever met that funny reefer man reefer man
have you ever met that funny reefer man reefer man
If he said he swam to china, and he sell you south carolina
then you know your talkn to that reefer man
Have you ever met funny reefer man reefer man
Have you ever met funny reefer man reefer man
If he said he walks the ocean, any time he takes the notion
then you know your talkn to reefer man.

Have you ever met this funny reefer man reefer man
oh baby baby baby reefer man reefer man
If he trades you dimes for nickles
and calls watermellons pickles
then you know your talkn to that reefer man
Have you ever met funny reefer man reefer man
Have you ever met funny reefer man reefer man
If he takes a sudden mania
he’ll want to give you pennsylvaina
oh you know your talking to the reefer man

Have you ever met funny reefer man reefer man
Have you ever met funny reefer man reefer man
If he said one sweet is funny
because he wont sell me atlantic
then you know your talkin to that reefer man[/quote]

Even more dated, back in 1984 we had a “distant classmate” type named Fred (you know, a foreigner who hangs out with your circle of friends but not consistently, but you like him well enough and anyway in 1984 there aren’t that many foreigners around in Taiwan yet) who used to have marijuana seeds mailed to him from the States, so obviously he was growing as he was not an artisan bread baker by any means. I never heard that he got into trouble for it but I couldn’t prove that he didn’t either. Those were martial law days though so as long as he wasn’t a Commie probably no one would have cared much about a little weed.

Have you googled “Taiwan” and “marijuana”? Quite a lot of stuff comes up.

And, of course, the People’s Daily would be the final authority on this matter, right? Check out from December 2006 if you read Chinese:

[In the luxurious residential area of Linhsi St. in Taipei stands a luxury building valued at over NT$100 million (NT dollars, hereinafter the same; NT$4 is approximately equal to RMB 1). You simply could not imagine this building was actually home to the largest marijuana farm in northern Taiwan. On the 28th, th Taipei police cracked the island’s first “hydroponic marijuana growing” case. Inside the building was a marijuana factory of a shocking scope.]

The report must be wrong, though, since there are no Canadians mentioned. :smiley:

That explains a lot, really. :laughing:

Fred was magical…there used to be “Fred sightings” all over the island, sometimes in several very far-flung locations in a single day. Never did figure out how he did it. I always wondered what became of Fred. Most of the other foreign students I knew in Taipei at that time went on to get horrible doctorates (Chinese, Chinese history, geography even!), I recently found out that one became a speech therapist, another one got an MBA and moved to Sweden, but somehow I don’t think that any of those would be Fred’s fate. (Amsterdam, maybe. Not Sweden.)

My limited experience in China (PRC) was that in Kunming 1996, cannabis was growing wild and nobody cared about its status. Locals and expats smoked it. I was not aware of any hashish being available - probably not worth the effort and cost when it grew, er… like a weed. However, in Hainan, Shenzen and Hong Kong I smelled not a whiff of it in early 2000s. Of course there are many Chinas. And perhaps times have changed.

Curiously, in Cambodia cannabis selling was use was very open in the early 1990s. It was also dirt cheap (and horrible quality, so I am told). When European tourists made it TOO popular to ignore it became illegal - but in practice only for foreigners. While no longer sold by the kilo by the herb lady in the markets, it is available somewhat discreetly and superior quality by persons who appear to me to be connected to men in uniform. Highest quality is exported by the army. Prostitution is ‘regulated’ by the police. Nice to see division of labour…

Vancouver, BC continues to be Vansterdam with effective (although not actual) decriminalization.

My interest continues to be Taiwan at the moment.

I welcome all illuminating replies to my multiple questions.

Uighers usually had hash in China.


I think most of the weed here is poor quality outdoor stuff and made into poor quality hash. Once in a while some pathetic buds show up and the smokers get all excited about it, but in general, I don’t really think it’s worth risking going to jail for. But I’m from BC. I used to smoke it there once in a while but didn’t see the point, here.

I was in Peru once and there was this idiot on a bus with all his hippy friends and he had a bag as big as a 7-11 shopping bag full of some grey-brown substance that they claimed was weed. I got away from them lest some cops on the take come by and bust us all.

So it’s Uighurs who sell it. And there I was looking for wiggers.

In Yunnan circa 1990, I noticed the local shops all had the same English-language menus, that included hash brownies as well as “Dalai Lama Freedom Steaks.” I guess their capitalism outweighed their patriotism. (NB: This information 18 years out of date.)

Good grief, this is a funny, though foggy thread!
Much misconstrued, it’s worth asking:
does anyone follow their nose? In other words, put in a little fancy footwork, tracing the historical roots? And all that that entails?
People burn hemp as incense, or even a powder form, both in temples and in private altars/shrines. China has long been considered one of the leading producers of hemp, which still retains some industrial utility. Though a far cry from several hundred years ago.

However, the real story of the ingested variety is obviously much more haphazardly complicated than that. Which any real analysis would obviously enlighten… However, any and all media coverage in Taiwan, as per usual, does not even come anywhere near the crux of the biscuit.

Oookay, but hemp is hardly marijuana.

I have no idea what quality herb is available here, as I’ve grown old since arriving in Taiwan, am too busy with my job, wife and child, don’t frequent nightclubs or hang out with unsavory characters (aside from my boss), so – unlike back home – have never been in a setting where people were smoking dope or discussing buying or selling it, and I’m certain Taiwan’s legal system is absurdly harsh on petty drug offenses and I don’t want to throw away everything and rot in prison because I had a craving. So, in my 8 years in Taiwan I’ve never even seen the stuff here.

But, I would imagine some people grow it indoors and some outdoors in Taiwan. I don’t know why either couldn’t be outstanding quality here, as it was back in Northern Cal – so long as one has proper lights, soil, seeds and know-how, what difference does it make what country you’re located in – but I suspect it generally isn’t. I suspect it’s generally pretty crappy here, just as I found it to be in Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Nepal, etc., a decade ago, which I found surprising.

Back then I had thought – ooooh, Thai stick! Ooooohhh, Mekong madness bud! Etc. But I found pot in those countries to be generally dried out, brown and seedy, unlike the amazing moist, pungent killer sinsimilla of Northern Cal, covered in purple hairs dripping in resin, one hit of which would sink you deep in your chair. I’ve smoked some amazing weed in Amsterdam, but aside from that I’ve never found anything that compares to Northern California Sinsie. I’m not sure why that is, but I’d guess people there helped develop the art/science of cultivating the plant to its fullest potential and many there possess extremely valuable know-how in that respect that has, oddly enough, not been widely disseminated around the world. Additionally, perhaps it’s hard to obtain great halogen lighting, or the like, in places like Taiwan.

But, aside from my experiences with the surprisingly crappy bud of SE Asia and Nepal, a decade ago, it’s all speculation from me. One of the greatest things about Taiwan for me has been that, no matter how much I still love the stuff, after many years of addiction (anyone who says one can’t get addicted to pot is a liar), living here has forced me to go the past 8 years without touching the stuff at all, which has done me a world of good.

What’s that about?

Wonderful Humboldt County, one of the few things I miss about home.

Coming here to do drugs makes about as much sense as coming here for the architecture. If you search back issues of newspapers you’ll find a few stories about Canadians importing drugs in English textbooks etc. that should get you started on your novel. One issue here is the police can walk into your house at random just to check on you. Not really conducive to indoor growing. They also freely seize and search your urine and blood, its not quite a democracy here yet. All a bit of a buzz kill. I hear its around, but high priced and mediocre quality. Probably the X and K from PRC are of decent quality. Its certainly not tolerated, teen idols here who got stoned in Amsterdam came back and apologized to like 6 generations of ancestors for it on TV. Sure, expats catch a buzz from time to time, but Taiwan ain’t Koh Samui…

Hehehe, expat life on the edge! God, expats are funny as hell.

Why does no-one ever write comedies about them?