Cannabis legalization in Thailand takes a hit from new legislation which plans to ban recreational cannabis use.
Cannabis legalization in Thailand is experiencing a challenging shift in support. Mr. Cholnan Srikaew, Thailand Minister of Public Health, has introduced new legislation which intends to ban recreational cannabis use (1). Ganjapreneur references the Thai Examiner (1,2), which stated that “this law aims to strictly regulate the use of cannabis, focusing solely on medical applications and effectively outlawing its recreational use.” Srikaew’s bill plans to impose cannabis products with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level over 0.2% to be considered illegal (1). Thailand has held a stronger liberal opinion on recreational cannabis reform which is why the newly released legislation is causing shock throughout the country.
The previous Minister of Public Health, Anutin Charnvirakul, legalized cannabis, as well as, unified it with the Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Department (1). With the new Minister of Public Health’s cannabis legislation, many are puzzled with questions. For example, residents are now unsure on if they will need a medical certificate to purchase cannabis or if cannabis retail stores will need to strictly adhere to the new law (1). The new bill prevents the sale of cannabis flower. In the United States (US), cannabis flower is a popular choice among consumers in both medical and recreational use marketplaces (1).
Ganjapreneur hints that the change in stance regarding cannabis policy can pose international implications (1). Thailand is a signatory to the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, which means that the Thailand government will need to take into consideration their agreement with this international drug control treaty (1).
In October 2023, the newly elected Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, proclaimed that “sales and consumption of cannabis for recreational purposes is too extensive and declared an effort to halt ongoing legalization in the country,” (3).
Thailand has a robust cannabis lobby which may cause some resistance to the Minister of Public Health’s new regulations (1). A 2022 study conducted by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, was published by Bangkok Times (3), and disclosed that Thailand could potentially generate $1.68 billion in sales by 2025. Thailand’s cannabis marketplace is strong and will possibly create some challenges if Thailand continues to roll back cannabis legalization.