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After two years of tightening the noose on social freedoms, a consequence of the Covid, Thailand appears to be pushing for more liberal policies. Shortly after allowing bars and clubs across the country to resume operations and announcing an end to some of its toughest pandemic restrictions, the country is now lifting a longstanding ban on cannabis.
Thailand is officially the top destination in Asia to relax the most severe rules on the marketing of the plant. While this is exciting news for tourists who are also cannabis lovers, they should take it with a grain of salt: it may have ceased to be illicit throughout Thailand as of this month, but its recreational use remains. prohibited :
Thailand’s economy will reach new heights
On Thursday June 9, Thailand claimed the title of the first country in all of Asia to decriminalize cannabis. In an interview with CNN, Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who was also behind the national anti-Covid strategy, confirmed “it’s is no longer a crime to cultivate and market marijuana and hemp products”.
Indeed, Thai businesses are now free to capitalize on the growing popularity of cannabis as a additive to eat and drink. Starting this week, bars and restaurants across the country will be free to sell cannabis-infused products, as long as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels are at or below 0.2%.
THC is the main psychoactive component found in cannabis. In addition to that, visitors will also be allowed to use the plant for sanitary purposes, such as the treatment of diseases, including chronic pain. Conversely, he warned locals and tourists against abusing the new relaxed laws, reiterating the recreational use of cannabis is still illegal.
To put it simply, smoking joints isn’t allowed in Thailand yet – but munching on marijuana brownies sold at licensed stores won’t get you in trouble. As Charnvirakul has argued, legalizing cannabis production, while maintaining a ban on recreational use, has the power to further boost Thailand’s economy.
Dealing another blow to those who might hope Thailand will follow in Canada’s or Holland’s footsteps in further relaxing cannabis regulations, Charnvirakul flat out said “no” to joints. According to the Minister of Health, strict laws prohibiting the use of cannabis in so-called “unproductive” ways will continue to be applied.
Tourists are again warned not to smoke joints in Thailand
Charnvirakul reminded the public and people visiting Thailand of the harsh penalties imposed by the country under the Public Health Act. Those who use cannabis illegally risk a three-month prison sentence and a fine of 800.00 USD. Tourists in particular have been warned not to light joints in public as this will have consequences:
‘If tourists come for medical treatment or for health related products, it is not a problem‘, added the Minister of Health, ‘but if you think you want to come to thailand just because you heard cannabis or marijuana is legal, or you are coming to thailand to smoke joints freely, that’s wrong‘. Charnvirakul concluded by tell these tourists not to come.
Despite the big caveat, the move is still happening hailed by the international community. After all, Asia as a whole, and in particular Southeast Asia, a subgroup to which Thailand belongs, has some of the toughest drug laws in the world. By lifting the ban, Thai authorities now expect the value of the local cannabis industry to exceed $2 billion.
Indeed, the Ministry of Agriculture plans to distribute 1 million free cannabis plants to households in Thailand, clearly encouraging people to join the adventure. Companies and entrepreneurs will still need to register with the authorities in order to obtain a permit to cultivate the plant and sell cannabis-derived products.
Can digital nomads living in Thailand also grow cannabis?
In recent years, Thailand has come up with a new digital nomad visa allowing foreigners working remotely to stay longer in the country. We do not know at this stage whether foreigners residing in Thailand under specific visa categories, including as digital nomads, will be allowed to cultivate the plant.
Since digital nomad visas require applicants to have the majority or most of their income from foreign sources, we can assume that those living in Thailand on this permit will not be allowed to grow the plant and start their own. marijuana company based in Thailand. . When planning to visit Thailand, tourists are advised to:
- Buy products from approved places
- Strictly adhere to laws governing the recreational use of cannabis
- If you live in Thailand and are looking to start a business, apply for a permit in advance
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