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Cannabis use in Thailand: new restrictions

In Thailand, the use of cannabis for medical purposes was legalized in 2018. Thailand was the first in Asia to legalize its use. The plant has long been used by Thais to cure various ailments but was now also available for recreational use.

Although the decriminalization of adult-use cannabis in Thailand came into effect, it has had unexpected consequences and the government has introduced new measures to restrict or control aspects related to the recreational use of the plant that were not originally foreseen.

According to the magazine Cáñamo, Thailand was seen as a cannabis paradise, where there were no limits on self-cultivation, the sale of buds, cannabis drinks and food, and extracts.

Recently, Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has designated cannabis and hemp as “controlled plants”, legalizing cannabis with the aim of promoting it for medical and health purposes and limiting its possession and use to persons over 20 years of age (unless authorized by a doctor). The government has proposed a new law to monitor the activity of the commercial sector more closely. The measure would require cannabis shops to report on purchases and sales of cannabis products for adult use, and buyers would have to present their ID to purchase such products.

The new law would then limit the use of the plant for medical and therapeutic use but would continue to prohibit recreational use.

The government intends to strengthen the medicinal, industrial and food uses of the plant. But the recreational use of cannabis is attracting many consumers and entrepreneurs, who are seeking licenses to continue their business.

However, elections in Thailand are scheduled for the end of 2023 and, as the government has not yet ratified these proposed new measures, it is difficult to know how long it will take for them to come into force.