Changes Expected To Be Made To Thailand’s Cannabis Policy
In June 2022, Thailand’s government made a fairly substantial shift in how it approaches cannabis policy. At the time the policy change was hailed as ‘legalization,’ however, it’s worth noting that what was legalized was low-THC cannabis.
Still, it was a historic shift for a nation located in Southeast Asia where some of the harshest cannabis policies on earth are also located. Every household in the entire country became eligible to sign up to legally cultivate low-THC cannabis plants. It’s the first time in the history of the world that such a public policy was implemented at a national level.
For a time things seemed to be very exciting in Thailand. As part of the rollout of the new law, Thailand gave away over 1 million cannabis seeds directly to households that signed up to cultivate cannabis. The government even gave out low-interest loans to help aspiring cultivators get their operations started.
The Health Ministry largely led the charge for cannabis policy modernization in Thailand, however, a broad spectrum of government agencies in Thailand entered into an agreement to do their part to push Thailand’s emerging cannabis industry forward. Unfortunately, the honeymoon period appears to be over, as captured in the X post below:
Thailand will end the free use of cannabis, a year after becoming the first in Asia to decriminalize the drug, says the nation’s new leader Srettha Thavisin. Weed can be used for medical purposes only, he says.
A cannabis and hemp regulation bill sponsored by the Bhumjaithai Party passed its first reading in parliament in June, and ministries in Thailand are forming a committee to review the measure and will eventually provide their own recommendations.
“Whether we continue with the present draft or develop a new one, I insist there must be laws to control cannabis use,” said Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew according to Bangkok Post. “Using cannabis for recreational purposes must be forbidden. The improper use of cannabis will lead to dangers for users.”
The cannabis policy discussion in Thailand will now largely focus on what constitutes medical cannabis use versus ‘recreational’ use. It’s not a new discussion within the global cannabis community, as many advocates around the globe feel very passionately that all cannabis use is medical to some degree.
As with any public policy change, the devil will be in the details, and how long the process will take is anyone’s guess. Furthermore, it will be interesting to see how meaningful any changes prove to be, as enforcement could prove to be difficult after so much has transpired. It’s an interesting situation from a public policy standpoint, to say the least.