Thailand to Allow Homegrowing Cannabis

Stephen Andrews
26 Jan 2022

In other words, this means Thailand will become the first Asian country to decriminalise cannabis! Thailand's narcotic board said on Tuesday (January 25) it would remove cannabis from its list of drugs, which will allow households to grow the plant for personal use. The new legislation should be settled in four months.

Thai authorities have already relaxed regulations on cannabis use for medicinal purposes over the last three years. The country delisted cannabis as a narcotic and allowed in 2019 clinics and canteens to use non-psychotropic plant extracts in cooking and as medicines. 

As Thailand moves to upgrade its regulation, it will allow people to grow cannabis plants at home, but it will require growers to notify their local government if they do so. Cannabis can be cultivated for personal use only, spokespersons said. Commercial retail will require a license. 

As Thai protocols go, the new rule now must be published in the official Royal Gazette, and 120 days must pass before homegrowing cannabis becomes officially legal. 

The country's Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, will take the lead in parliament to present a draft bill that details how the legal use of cannabis will be regulated across the kingdom. The draft bill should inform the parliament of all details related to cannabis production, market establishment and guidelines on adult use. 

In previous media statements, Thailand's food and drug regulator chief, Paisal Dunkhum, said homegrowing cannabis should be used for medical purposes such as in traditional medicine. He also said authorities would make random inspections at grow sites. 

Unauthorised growth of marijuana, or failing to give authorities the notice on growth plans, will result in a fine of up to 20,000 baht (roughly £450). Selling without a license is equal to a fine of 300,000 baht (around £6,700) as well as three years in jail. Yikes!

Decriminalisation will make Thailand a cannabis leader in the region. It could trigger a domino effect where other countries, at least in the Southeast region, open up to the legal cannabis sector. 

When the Thai parliament allowed cannabis for medical purposes and research in December 2018, businesses were swift to roll out new foods and cosmetic items based on CBD and hemp. Traditional Thai dishes like pandan coconut rice pancakes and chicken curry soup are often stirred with fresh or deep-fried cannabis in a bid the new trend will boost tourism to the kingdom.

Cannabis has been used in traditional Thai medicines for centuries, before the plant was banned on a global scale. Traditional medical practitioners in the country have long-acknowledged the plant's medicinal benefits and claim that as an herbal remedy, cannabis can help faster recovery from illness. 

Thailand is also known for "Thai Stick", an energetic landrace sativa that went world-famous in the 70s and 80s. Several popular strains circulating the market today, including Haze, Voodoo and Juicy Fruit borrow genetics from this native Thai strain.

Stephen Andrews