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Get Ready for a Possible Upturn in Thailand's Cannabis Laws After Election



Thailand's policy to decriminalize recreational cannabis, which made it the first Asian country to do so, could be reversed by the winners of the upcoming election.


Thai voters have chosen an opposition party that promises serious reforms to the nation's institutions. However, the incoming government may change the current cannabis policies, which have been criticized for creating an uncontrolled market.


Thailand's reformist opposition and the youth-led Move Forward Party (MFP) won big in the recent general elections held on Sunday, May 14. Together, they hold the majority of seats in the House of Representatives, with 152 out of 500 seats. Their victory sends a powerful message of disapproval to the military-aligned parties currently in the government coalition.


The MFP is currently negotiating with the Pheu Thai Party, the country's top opposition party. They have been a prominent populist party in Thailand for the past two decades and won 141 seats in this recent election. This could be bad news for Thai cannabis enthusiasts and activists as election results surface.

Thailand was the first Southeast Asian country to legalize medical cannabis in 2018 and made another significant move by decriminalizing recreational cannabis last year. Thai citizens can grow cannabis in the comfort of their homes for personal use after notifying their local government. The removal of the cannabis plant from the Category 5 list of controlled drugs marked a significant change in Thailand's drug policy.


Ever since the decriminalization of cannabis products, it has spread like wildfire across the nation. However, this has led to a political rift as opposition groups worry about its adverse effects on Thai society.

With the decriminalization of cannabis for personal use and its initial approval for industrial cultivation, the sale of cannabis products for recreational purposes boomed nationwide. However, lawmakers failed to put in place the requisite regulations to manage the market.


The cannabis industry surged ahead without regulation or supervision, leading to its independent growth. This also leads to an influx of illegal cannabis making its way into the country by means of illegal brokers, ultimately hurting local farmers.


Although recreational cannabis sale is technically illegal, it is not always enforced. In major towns and cities throughout Thailand, cannabis shops and stalls are prevalent on almost every street corner.

Both MFP and Pheu Thai Party are voicing their concerns about the negative consequences of legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes, as highlighted in their political campaigns. They are now actively working on introducing regulatory measures to restrict the sale of cannabis.


It may be difficult to undo the impact of the current cannabis policy due to the profitable market for recreational use. The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce predicts the country's cannabis industry will exceed $1 billion by 2025.


While Thailand is experiencing a boom in cannabis-related tourism due to its lax laws on its use, there are also concerns being raised about the unregulated sale of recreational cannabis. Several political parties are pushing for stricter regulations, and halting sales of recreational marijuana.


The future of cannabis in Thailand may seem uncertain; however, it is clear that the newly elected government will likely bring some form of regulation to control its sale. It’s important to remember that while there are concerns about the unregulated sale and use of recreational marijuana, there are also positive aspects such as increased tourism due to lax laws on its consumption. Ultimately, only time will tell what new regulations or policies may be implemented by the incoming government - and how this could affect both local farmers and consumers alike.


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