Thailand may change cannabis policy after 1 year. 

Liz Filmer
04 Dec 2023

Last year, Thailand became the first Asian country to decriminalize weed. This led to the opening of a considerable number of cannabis shops across the country, over 6000 in total.

After just 12 months, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin says he will be coming down hard again on cannabis use in Thailand, with plans to limit its use to medicinal within the next six months. But with so many dispensaries already established many small, local businesses, how will this affect the business owners, customers, and tourist trade? 

Around 90 per cent of the dispensary trade is tourists, especially during the peak seasons.

Many tourists have travelled from other parts of Asia, including Japan or the Philippines and are coming more for the relaxed weed policy than anything else. They already have the beaches and food in their native countries.

The finer details of the Prime Minister's back-step on cannabis policy are yet to be finalised, but speculation is rife. One possible scenario is that people must consult a doctor before being allowed to purchase cannabis flower, which luckily, it would not have much impact on tourists.The Thai government will not want to endanger the tourist trade if it can help it as it brings in a tremendous amount of revenue for the country.

Until the new plans are announced, however, it does leave many sellers in limbo, wondering how the rollback could impact their livelihood and how tighter regulations may be of benefit to foreign investors whilst being to the detriment of local growers who have so far been able to set up shop with minimal red tape. 

However, The idea that more regulations and controls may be implemented is not bad. There is always room for improvement, especially regarding safe cultivation and quality control. In Canada and the U.S., the weed is tested at every stage, but in Thailand, there are no current requirements. The industry is so accessible; anyone can grow and sell as they wish.

Working out what counts as safe and unsafe is a big task that the current Health Minister is expected to address to some degree when the complete plans are announced. 

Whilst the cannabis space in Thailand is uncertain for now; local business owners are happy that decriminalization has given control of the market to the local Thai people who are moving cannabis away from gangs and criminals and towards a place where it is safe and contributes to the local and national economies.

More on this topic from Soft Secrets:

Thai election looms with cannabis in limbo

Thailand to allow home growing

Liz Filmer