Thailand recreational cannabis
Thailand recreational cannabis

Is Thailand about to Change Their Cannabis Laws Yet Again? - Go Now While It Is Still a Weed Paradise

Thailand has a love hate relationship with recreational cannabis after only a few short years.

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Wednesday May 8, 2024

thailand changing weed laws again

Thailand To Change Weed Laws Soon?
It’s Still Weed Paradise Right Now, So Go If You Can


Sure, weed is already legal in most of the United States.


However, for people who are in need of a holiday and want nothing to do but relax on a tropical Asian beach while enjoying a joint, the best place is still Thailand. Or at least, for now. Last June 2022, Thailand became the first nation in Asia to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, albeit due to some governmental loopholes that allowed adult-use dispensaries to pop up like weed around the country.

Just a few days after weed was legalized, budding (pun intended!) entrepreneurs put up all kinds of weed shops and dispensaries. The smell of marijuana was soon prevalent all over, whether you were walking down a street in Bangkok or sunbathing in Phuket. These days, weed shops are as common as ATM machines or bubble tea kiosks.


We aren’t sure how long this is going to last. Over the last 1.5 years, throngs of tourists have come from all over the world to enjoy the globe’s newest weed haven. And while many cannabis businesses and farmers are thriving economically from the weed boom, some government officials are against it. As of the time of writing, the Thai government is working on regulating the cannabis industry much more tightly, so much so that smoking weed may not be such a liberal act to enjoy anymore.

Could Thailand’s weed heydays be this short-lived?

According to the news, Thailand’s health minister is set to ban recreational marijuana use completely by year end. A new bill is forecast to be discussed to parliament before session ends in October. Anutin Charnivakul, the public health minister responsible for initially proposing cannabis legalization, didn’t intend for weed to be as widely sold and consumed as it was. Instead, he explained that he merely intended for it to be used medicinally, helping farmers and other industries earn from the economic benefits of cannabis legalization.

“We have always emphasized using cannabis extractions and raw materials for medicinal purposes and for health,” he disclosed to CNN back in July 2022. “There has never once been a moment that we would think about advocating people to use cannabis in terms of recreation – or use it in a way that it could irritate others,” he added.


They likely did not anticipate or foresee that the tourism sector would experience a massive boom due to the said loopholes in cannabis law. Nobody knew that thousands of tourists would be coming from all over to enjoy partaking, and, helping to boost the tourist economy which was much-needed after the pandemic.


In a Reuters interview with Public Health Minister Dr. Cholnan Srikaew, he says that marijuana will only be permitted for medical use. Recreational users and cannabis growers who do not have a permit can expect to be charged with heavy fines, if the new bill is passed. “Under the new law, cannabis will be a controlled plant, so growing it would require permission. We will support cannabis cultivation for the medical and health industry,” he told Reuters.


The fines they are discussing are certainly steep: in the draft bill, it states that penalties of up to $1,690 can be charged to recreational users. Meanwhile, individuals who are caught selling weed or advertising its use can face a file of as much as $2,770, jail time, or even both.


The news to change Thailand’s once-ideal regulations regarding cannabis use was announced a few months ago, leaving businesses and other industries that are reliant on it, afraid and unable to make any plans for the future.


Can Tourists Still Smoke Weed In Thailand?

Until the government announces final changes to the weed law, tourists are still welcome to smoke weed and partake of recreational marijuana in various forms throughout the country. I just came from spending a few days in Bangkok, the nation’s capital, where hundreds of weed shops are still flourishing throughout the massive city.


Dispensaries are designed in fun, colorful interiors using bright colors and world-class marketing to attract smokers and consumers. We’ve walked into several different kinds of dispensaries and had no problems buying flower, edibles, vapes, and a variety of paraphernalia to consume either in the dispensary or in our hotel room. However, you do have to keep in mind that there are still rules in place.


For one, vaping or smoking weed in public places is still prohibited. Don’t be tempted to light up on the streets even if you can smell weed, because getting caught by the cops can lead to a $700 fine. That said, there are certain areas in Thailand where the law is a bit more – uh, relaxed. For example, in the backpacker central of Khao San Road, it’s not uncommon to see tourists lighting up at night. In the tourist beach areas of Krabi and Samui, there have been reports of tourists being able to easily light up a joint on the street with no problem.


Again, there’s no timeline of how long this is going to last. So if you can go to Thailand before the year end, when the new laws are expected to be set in place, go!





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