Citing concerns with the increasing prevalence of cannabis in the country, the Prime Minister plans to curb ongoing legalization.
In a recent television interview, Thailand’s newly elected Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, stated that sales and consumption of cannabis for recreational purposes is too extensive and declared an effort to halt ongoing legalization in the country (1). Within the next six months, the government will reportedly limit use to medical purposes only, though details of the exact plans remain unclear (2,3).
In 2018, Thailand became the first country in Asia to allow cannabis for medical use, and in 2022 the country legalized cannabis for recreational use and removed it from the list of narcotics (2). Currently, anyone over the age of 20 who is not pregnant or breastfeeding is legally allowed to use cannabis or consume its extracts in food in private residences or in licensed restaurants (3). Home cultivation is also permitted, but only after informing the Thai government first (2). Despite these permissions, Thailand does not have regulations controlling the growing and selling of cannabis (2).
“The law will need to be rewritten,” Srettha stated (3). “It needs to be rectified. We can have that regulated for medical use only.” He also explained that an agreement had been formed among the 11 political parties to sanctify this push as government policy, citing widespread drug activity (2).
Since decriminalization, the country has nearly 6,000 cannabis stores, and according to a study published by "Bangkok Times" in 2022 from the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the country’s cannabis market is expected to generate $1.68 billion in 2025 (2). The country has also seen the rise of cannabis-themed massages, cruises, and farm tours (4).
For a look into modern and traditional uses of psychedelics in Thailand, watch our onsite interview with Dr. Aimon Kopera at the Cannabis Science Conference Fall 2023.