One of the world’s harshest countries for drug crimes, Thailand’s reputation is well-documented, including at the Bangkok Hilton. Even though the United Nations considers cannabis to be a “least harmful” narcotic, it nevertheless carries a 15-year prison sentence. Even if it was just delisted as a narcotic, this might change the way the substance is used in Thailand as a result.
If you have less than 0.2 percent tetrahydrocannabinol in your marijuana, Thailand is the first Asian country to remove it from its list of illegal substances. A first for South-East Asia, Thailand legalized the use of medicinal marijuana in 2018.
Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul has stated that people would be permitted to cultivate cannabis plants at home after the delisting comes into effect, which is 120 days after publication on the Royal Thai Government Gazette website.
Licensing for commercial expansion is also an option. Legislators have received a draft law on how to regulate the recreational use and production of cannabis and hemp. Instead of “a stoner paradise,” Linn envisions cannabis as a part of the medical and wellness sector, luring “Silicon Valley types” on business travels across the world.
According to local media, authorities are also looking into the notion of a cannabis sandbox, which would enable visitors to visit the country while recreationally consuming cannabis in specific regions.
Thailand welcomed 39.9 million tourists in 2019. In 2022, 27.7 million people are expected to travel only for the purpose of health and wellbeing, resulting in $2.5 billion in health and wellness tourism spending. Prohibition Partners, a cannabis research organization, estimates that the recreational marijuana industry in the United States might be worth $424 million by 2024.
There are two extremes at play at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to Linn: the advocates for tourists and the narcotics board. A “clean legal area for recreational use without conditions” is what Linn hopes for from the FDA, she says.
Cannabis businesses in Thailand are also working on new items to complement their existing offerings. In fact, there’s a cannabis-infused fish sauce that’s already attracting a lot of interest. On April 2, 2022, a new product, marijuana-infused fish sauce, was unveiled in Khon Kaen, Thailand’s northeastern region.
Medical marijuana conferences were conducted in Khon Kaen (Isaan’s capital) from April 1-3, and Anutin’s last visit was to the city. Speakers and demos during the conference covered topics such as how to legally cultivate cannabis at home in Thailand, how to utilize cannabis as a medicinal remedy, and how to infuse food with the drug.