Kitty Chopaka may not be a global household name, but in Thailand, she’s a big deal.
Some have dubbed the green leaf activist “the mother of the Thai cannabis industry” (we note, that it’s not a title she sought out, it’s been bestowed upon her).
We wanted to know more about this extraordinary figure in the new frontier of the global cannabis trade and this is what we’ve learned.
Who Is Kitty Chopaka?
Kitty, rather more modestly, refers to herself as “ganjapreneur” and she’s one of Thailand’s, relatively few, long-term users of cannabis and advocates for legal marijuana.
Kitty, quite rightly, points out, for the longest time cannabis was legal in the country and then, the American push for global prohibition came along and things changed here in the 1970s when the Narcotics Act BE 2522 was introduced. (Though, technically speaking, this was an extension of the 1935 Cannabis Act BE 2477).
Thailand then outlawed a plant that had been used in traditional medicine and massage therapy and introduced harsh penalties for the possession, sale, production, consumption, and smuggling of cannabis.
People like Kitty were thus left marginalized. To continue with her tradition, would mean to risk arrest and prosecution.
Despite this, she became a voice for the legalization and use of cannabis at the urging of her own morther!
And as soon as it became clear that the law would change, she pivoted, and her efforts swiftly diverted to help the people of Thailand build a sustainable, innovative cannabis industry that is truly socially responsible.
Elevated Estate – Cannabis Consulting With Kitty
She founded, with absolutely no outside backing, Elevated Estate (you can also find them on Facebook here).
This is a consulting company which offers reporting on the local industry as well as organizing the “Elevating Cannabis & Hemp Expo” which is designed to help connect people in the industry with investors and partners that can enhance their business.
This caused a certain amount of backlash with critics accusing Kitty of breaking the law because the expo would take place prior to the legal change on Cannabis, before the event had even been held!
But she held firm and explained exactly what would and wouldn’t be happening without folding in the face of noisy opposition.
She then went on to launch her Elevated Podcast which can be found on Facebook and which includes a huge amount of information for everyone interested in Thailand’s cannabis culture and industry.
Chopaka And More – When Does Kitty Sleep?
And if that wasn’t enough, she has, now that cannabis is effectively legal in Thailand, launched her own store “Chopaka”.
Chopaka is already considered one of the best places in the country to buy cannabis gummies from.
This is because the jellies don’t just include cannabis but also a variety of terpenes that are designed to provide a specific scent and taste to each jelly while enhancing the user experience.
If you want to visit the store, it’s on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok, near the Asok Skytrain station.
Kitty may not be there, however, as she’s also the voice of Thai cannabis in the international press and you can find her featured in such publications as Vice, CNN, and even High Times too.
Looking Forward With Kitty
Kitty is also a realist and she knows that the current state of Thailand’s cannabis market cannot last.
She says there are a bunch of rules not covered by the new Cannabis Act and that there is a genuine potential that the initial “green gold rush” in Thailand may hurt the trade in the long term.
That is, of course, the last thing that Kitty wants and she and her associates are working very hard to educate the public and the industry so that doesn’t happen.
In a world often dominated by men, Kitty Chopaka is, without doubt, the most influential non-governmental figure in Thailand’s nascent cannabis scene.
It is thanks, in part, to her efforts that cannabis has been decriminalized here and if Thai industry goes on to be a big player in the global marijuana and hemp scene, it will almost certainly be thanks, in part, to the effort she put in to educate and prepare local growers, sellers and distributors.
As far as we can see, she really is “the mother of the Thai cannabis industry” and the title is well deserved.
And one day, she may be a globally famous name, after all, she told Chiang Mai City Life, “And once Thailand’s cannabis space is established, I’m coming for the UN! Don’t underestimate the Kitty!”
We wouldn’t dare.