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Cannabis Laws in Thailand – Everything You Need to Know

Cannabis Laws in Thailand – Everything You Need to Know

Thailand has gotten into the weed game after Cannabis Laws Thailand were revised in 2018, making it legal for medical purposes under specific circumstances. According to the Thai government, this change in the legislation will showcase Thailand as a ‘Herbal Hub’ in Southeast Asia.

This guide provides an overview of the current cannabis laws and regulations in Thailand.

History of Cannabis Laws in Thailand 

Thailand has a long-standing relationship with cannabis, as it has been used for traditional medicinal and cultural purposes for centuries. However, in the 20th century, the government began adopting stricter laws regarding cannabis, ultimately leading to its classification as a Category 5 narcotic in 1979. This classification resulted in severe penalties for cannabis-related offenses.

Thailand cannabis laws

Legalization of Cannabis for Medical Use

In 2018, Thailand took a significant step forward by becoming the first Southeast Asian country to legalize cannabis for medical purposes. The amendment to the Narcotics Act permits the cultivation, production, import, export, possession, and use of cannabis for medical research, treatment, and traditional medicine. 

This change in Cannabis laws in Thailand allowed patients, medical professionals, and businesses to explore the potential benefits of cannabis. While under cannabis laws in Thailand, in June 2022, Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration removed marijuana and hemp from the Category 5 narcotics list. 

Conditions for Medical Use

Under the current regulations, individuals seeking to use cannabis for medical purposes must obtain a medical cannabis prescription from a licensed physician. These prescriptions are only available for specific conditions, including Chronic pain, Epilepsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Nausea caused by chemotherapy, and palliative care. The Ministry of Public Health oversees the issuance of licenses for medical practitioners and facilities involved in medical cannabis.

Cannabis laws Thailand

Cannabis Research and Development

The Thai government has actively encouraged research and development in the cannabis industry. Licensed entities, including universities, research institutions, and private companies, are authorized to conduct scientific research, develop cannabis-based medications, and cultivate cannabis plants for medical purposes. The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) regulates and monitors these activities.

Recreational Use and Possession

While cannabis remains illegal for recreational use and possession in Thailand, the government has shown a willingness to explore the potential benefits of cannabis in the future. Several advocacy groups and lawmakers have called for decriminalizing or legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes, but no significant changes have been implemented.

Penalties and Enforcement

Although medical use is legal, strict penalties exist for the unauthorized use, possession, production, or distribution of cannabis. Violators can face imprisonment, fines, or both, depending on the severity of the offense. The severity of the penalty depends on various factors, including the amount of cannabis involved and the intent of the individual.

Import and Export Regulations

Cannabis and cannabis-derived products can be imported and exported under specific conditions for medical and research purposes. The Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the ONCB regulate and oversee these activities. Strict controls are in place to prevent illegal trafficking and ensure compliance with international drug control treaties.

Cannabis laws in Thailand

Cannabis Tourism

Thailand is a popular destination for tourists, and many visitors may be interested in the country’s cannabis laws. However, it is essential to note that even though some countries may have more relaxed cannabis regulations, Thai laws still apply within the country. Tourists should refrain from involvement with THC products, including possession, cultivation, or consumption, unless they have the necessary medical permits recognized by Thai authorities. 

10 Things Need to Know About Cannabis Laws Thailand

1. Carrying seeds or parts of Cannabis plants from and to Thailand for personal use is not permitted. 

2. Cannabis cultivation in Thailand is legal but requires registration in the Food and drug administration’s ‘Plook Ganja’ app. 

3. Using cannabis flower buds for research, export sale, and processing for commercial purposes needs a permit from the government.

4. Pregnant and breastfeeding, as well as individuals under 20 years old, are not eligible to use cannabis unless they have a doctor’s permission.

Cannabis Thailand laws

5. Cannabis-infused food should only be available in authorized restaurants and cafes. 

6. Approved cannabis health products are accessible through specific channels.

7. Smoking cannabis in public places, including shopping malls and schools, is illegal.

8. Thailand’s Sangha Supreme Council has banned Buddhist monks and novices from smoking or growing cannabis. They can only use it for medical purposes.

9. Possession of an extract containing more than 0.2% THC and synthetic THC also requires permission.

10. To regulate people smoking marijuana publicly, authorities recently signed the 1992 Public Health Act. It prohibits any “act of public disturbance” resulting from smoke or smell. Violators of this law can face a 25,000 baht (around $690) fine and three months of imprisonment.

Conclusion

Thailand cannabis laws have made significant progress in reforming its cannabis laws by legalizing medical use and promoting research and development. However, recreational use and possession of cannabis remain illegal and can result in severe penalties. Individuals must stay informed about the current regulations and strictly adhere to them to avoid legal consequences. As the cannabis landscape evolves globally, Thailand continues to explore potential changes to its laws to align with international trends.

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