Thailand’s new ‘Dr. Ganja’ app is weirdly racist, users complain

A smartphone app promoting a new government cannabis clinic came under fire yesterday for being just a little racist.

To make an appointment at the Public Health Ministry’s medical cannabis clinic using its new “Dr. Ganja” app, users had to choose a nationality from a menu that included bizarre descriptions of Chinese nationals as “former Chinese Communists” and ethnic Karen people as “immigrant fugitives.”

“Patients registering on the Dr. Ganja in TTM app operated by Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health will face with these creepy racist questions. Can’t believe this is from Government Agency not the KKK,” wrote Facebook user Kannikar Petchkaew, who called out the entries Wednesday.

Every child’s life is brighter with a Mr. Ganja plushie to love. Photo: Anutin Charnvirakul / FB
Every child’s life is brighter with a Mr. Ganja plushie to love. Photo: Anutin Charnvirakul / FB

For some reason, users who identify as Chinese, Malaysian or Singaporean had to choose an entry with a bracketed note reading, “former Chinese Communists.” The entries for Cambodian, Vietnamese, Mon and Karen people were noted as “immigrant fugitives.”

Photo: Kannikar Petchkaew / FB
Photo: Kannikar Petchkaew / FB

Marut Jirasetsiri, director of the Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Department, apologized for the incident. He said his team didn’t really bother to take a close look at it before it went out. 

As of Thursday morning the offending text appeared to have been removed, but the only nationality or ethnicity available to select now is “Thai.”

The Dr. Ganja in TTM application is meant to facilitate registering for services at a new cannabis clinic opening at the Public Health Department in Nonthaburi province. 

While existing clinics have limited hours, the new clinic will be open every day from 8:30am to 3:30pm starting Jan. 17.


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