By: Marie Scarci | January 10, 2023
After the historic delisting of marijuana last year, Thailand has become a hub for cannabis culture with plenty of cafes and dispensaries popping up around the country.
The current legal landscape surrounding marijuana has led to unprecedented uncertainty - creating what some have come to describe as a modern "Wild West" for weed. With the government's amendments still unclear, there are many debates about what's considered permissible activities.
Kitty Chopaka, an independent cannabis advocate based in Bangkok says, “Since legalization, no one really knows whether we have the correct information”
The Thai Ministry of Public Health has released a new guide outlining restrictions for tourists visiting the country, citing Mandel Menachem from cannabis information hub High Thailand. He notes that "a few simple rules" should be followed to ensure an enjoyable and safe stay in Thailand.
What activities are permitted, where, and which must be avoided?
Everyone over 20 and not pregnant or breastfeeding can now enjoy the legal highs of cannabis. Those wishing to smoke cannabis may light up inside their residence, while culinary connoisseurs have a new dining option with licensed restaurants offering infused foods.
People who smoke marijuana in public places like schools, temples, and shopping malls will have to pay fines as high as 25,000 baht ($750) and three months in prison if caught.
With the cannabis industry becoming increasingly popular, there are now more than 2,600 registered weed stores across the nation offering a variety of products for consumers. Cannabis consumers can access an array of products from cannabis flowers and pre-rolled joints to edibles containing no more than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD oil.
With the proliferation of dispensaries in cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Pattaya, it is important for consumers to be aware that not all are created equal. Chopaka suggests people seek out reputable establishments with proper licensing.
If you're looking to grow cannabis, it's important that individuals register with the Food and Drug Administration. Furthermore, a permit is required by those who want to use flower buds for research, export, or commercial processing.
There is no limit set on the amount of cannabis that can be consumed but it is discouraged to drive after using, as advised by the Ministry's guide.
While travelers may be familiar with the unique culture of marijuana in some countries, they must take heed when touring Thailand- as carrying any part or seed from cannabis plants and possessing extracts that exceed a THC concentration level of 0.2% are strictly prohibited by law without special permission. Special permission is unlikely given to tourists so it is best not to try and travel with any part of the cannabis plant.
Menachem is calling on visitors to the country to enjoy their stay and take responsibility for how they use cannabis. He hopes people will be respectful and act responsibly while in the area.
Amsterdam is known for its tolerant attitude towards cannabis, with coffee shops and cannabis cafes popping up throughout the city. However, in recent years, Amsterdam has been increasingly looking to restrict tourists from accessing these establishments.
This move comes as part of a larger effort to curb drug tourism and combat drug-related crime in the city. The tourist ban would mean that only those with Dutch residency permits would be able to access the coffee shops.
With the delisting of cannabis in Thailand, the country has a chance to capitalize on cannabis tourism. As Amsterdam moves to restrict tourist access to its coffee shops and cannabis cafes, Thailand's increasing potential to be known as the new cannabis capital of the world is steadily growing.