Thoughts on the (sort of) legalization of cannabis in Thailand

Last month, we estimated that Thailand became the first country in Southeast Asia to decriminalize cannabis. Since then, we’ve seen bad news stories about it, like “weed is legal in Thailand!” The new Thai regime is not that progressive, but we still think Thailand has taken a step in the right direction.

In short, the Thai gThe government said it was promoting cannabis for medical purposes only. Smoking in public could still be considered a nuisance, subject to a potential penalty of 3 months and a fine of 25,000 Thai baht (US$780). Extracted content, such as oil, remains illegal if it contains more than 0.2% THC (which is below the “hemp” threshold in many countries).

Yet with its new policy, Thailand joins a short list of countries where weed has been decriminalized or better, including Canada, Mexico and South Africa.

Thailand’s new law overturns a long tradition of harsh criminal drug penalties. Cannabis grows naturally there, and the country has an even longer history of using the plant in holistic medicine practices. The Thai government hopes to capitalize on the economic and medical benefits of the plant, and laws will follow on these matters. He believes cannabis will encourage tourism and increase agricultural production.

Thailand is a well-known travel destination with tons of natural beauty, amazing food, and rich culture. I went there in college. With all the beautiful beaches and delicious curries, feeding the elephants and watching Muay Thai boxing, I’m pretty sure the weed is the only thing that would have made the experience even better than it was.

But before you rush out to buy plane tickets to enjoy beautiful beaches and good cannabis, there are still several legal issues for the country to resolve before tourists and locals can smoke freely.

Speed ​​Weed: Thailand’s liberal legalization policy an instant hit

Thailand’s Minister of Public Health, Anutin Charnvirakul, architect of the new law, has crafted one of the world’s most liberal cannabis policies. The public immediately adopted the law. Restaurants are already offering cannabis-infused edibles. Carts selling the plant have popped up in every city in Thailand. The haste with which cannabis has become commercially available speaks to both the ubiquitous nature of the plant and its popularity.

However, the government has only just drafted regulations to dictate the use, production and sale of the plant. The aim was to beat the neighboring countries to the fist by issuing the far-reaching decriminalization decree. The Thai government wanted to give its cannabis market a leg up on potential competitors. However, it looks like the government could end up playing a catch-up game as market growth outpaces regulation.

Travelers beware

Despite all the hype, the Thai government discourages recreational (i.e. non-medical) use of the plant, as explained above. The penalties in place for smoking in public seem likely to be enforced, at least to some extent. Finally, without extracts and tinctures offered, Thailand will not have the appearance of more progressive national diets, like in Canada, or what we see in many US states. Taken together, these policies suggest conflicting political views on legalization within Thailand’s current administration.

Due to these facts, would-be cannatourists should approach with caution. We will all have to wait and see how Thailand plans to regulate commercial cannabis to ensure both consumer safety, as well as market fairness and diversity. Stay tuned.


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