New Set of Cannabis Measures in Thailand

Stephen Andrews
21 Jun 2022

Just days after Thailand officially allowed the legal commerce of cannabis goods, the country's authorities are delegating a new set of rules. The new measures address the potential for unchecked use of cannabis anywhere and by anyone. Authorities are strict when it comes to smoking in public, something which health minister Anutin Charnvirakul has repeatedly warned against.

Earlier this month, Thailand became the first Asian country to legalise the growing and consumption of cannabis goods, including flower, foods and drinks. The capital of Bangkok saw a rapid rise in cannabis sales, with demands coming from foreigners and locals alike.

"Amnesia", "Jack Haze", and "Night Nurse" are just some of the strains on sale at a pop-up truck on Khaosan Road in an area of the capital popular among backpackers. Buds said to help sleep and anxiety are sold at around 700 baht ($20) per gram. 

However, on Friday, June 17, the central government issued piecemeal measures in an attempt to control how cannabis is being sold and used. According to the regulation upgrade, sales of cannabis and marijuana are not allowed to people under the age of 20, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. 

The rules, published in the Royal Gazette, further ban cannabis from schools and require retailers to provide clear information on the usage of cannabis in food and drinks. Authorities also insist on applying a health law that prohibits smoking in public, which is punishable by jail and a fine. 

While smoking in public can violate health laws, the parliament is still debating a draft cannabis regulation bill that may be months away from being voted upon. This has created a slight confusion about how cannabis can be legally used right now in Thailand. 

Mr Charnvirakul, the country's health minister who has been at the centre of the marijuana legalisation campaign, has defended the government's approach to legislation after facing criticism. He said: "We legalised cannabis for medical use and for health. Using beyond this are inappropraite... and we need laws to control it."

Cannabis has been traditionally used among Thai people for various health benefits, such as pain relief and fatigue. Cannabis for medicinal use was made legal in the Southeast Asian country in 2018. 

Stephen Andrews