Thailand’s Push to Ban on Recreational Marijuana: What It Means

Thailand's Push to Ban on Recreational Marijuana: What It Means, news cannabis legalization in Thai
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Thailand's Push to Ban on Recreational Marijuana: What It Means?

The first Asian country to decriminalize cannabis consumption aims to eliminate recreational use while preserving therapeutic use

In 2019, Thailand became the first country in Asia to legalize medical use of cannabis, marking a significant shift from the hard-line stance maintained by many other countries in the region. In 2020, the country opened its first clinic for cannabis treatment, leading the way for others to follow.

Cannabis in Thailand

The cannabis industry has been steadily growing in Thailand since 2021 when the government legalized the cultivation and distribution of cannabis and other medicinal herbs for local and foreign markets. As a result, cannabis flowers were removed from the list of narcotic substances, effectively decriminalizing their possession and consumption.

In 2022, the government also allowed the home-growing of cannabis for medical purposes, with the plan to distribute 1 million cannabis plants to citizens. The government intended to encourage citizens to grow their own medicine and then sell it back to the state.

This was not a radical change, but rather a return to Thailand’s historical roots, where cannabis had been used as a healing herb for centuries before modern prohibition. Thailand was simply recovering its traditional plant that had been part of its culture for a long time.

The legalization of cannabis also boosted tourism in Thailand, as many visitors were attracted by the themed venues such as bars and restaurants offering cannabis products and the relaxed rules on recreational use. At the end of 2022, the government published a handbook for tourists explaining the dos and don’ts of consuming cannabis in Thailand.

The Turning Point After The Elections

Once the 2023 elections were over, the whole situation changed. With the arrival of the new Prime Minister, Seretha Thavisin, who expressed the opinion that she does not agree with the use of marijuana for entertainment.

Not only that, Reuters also reported that there is a bill that would ban the recreational use of marijuana. Fines of up to 60,000 baht ($1,700) to violators for advertising or marketing related to recreational use of marijuana. He can be jailed for up to one year or fined up to 100,000 baht.

The government is now open to the public to express their views on the new bill. The deadline for comments is January 23, the closing date. The Council of Ministers will examine the bill and the recommendations received. To be forwarded to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

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