Cannabis is now legal in Thailand, What Travelers Need to Know. In June, Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration removed marijuana and hemp from the Category 5 narcotics list, meaning that these substances are essentially decriminalized.
Thailand, not long ago a country with some of the strictest drug policies in the world, is getting into the weed game. In practice, this change in legislation grants Thais the ability to grow and sell marijuana for medical use, which according to the government, will ultimately position Thailand as an “herbal hub” in Southeast Asia.
Cannabis is now legal in Thailand, What Travelers Need to Know
Products for food or medicine must contain very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the main hallucinogenic compound in marijuana), and recreational use of marijuana, including smoking in public, is still not legal (more on this later). And although marijuana is no longer considered an illegal substance by the Thai authorities, they have yet to draft legislation that regulates its trade, making buying and selling it at the moment, rather confusing.
Since the announcement in June, Thais have taken full advantage of this legal gray area. As you read this, on Bangkok’s Khao San Road, streetside tables are groaning under the weight of piles of buds that far exceed the legal THC cap; in Chiang Mai, a tourist is probably sipping on a high-octane marijuana-laced cocktail; and somewhere on a Thai island, bongs are being ripped in public. Technically speaking, all of these scenarios are illegal. But up to this point at least, they’ve been tolerated.
The medicinal use of marijuana is legal
Cannabis is now legal in Thailand, What Travelers Need to Know. Medical cannabis was legalized in Thailand in 2018, making it the first country in Asia to approve marijuana for medicinal and industrial use.
According to Thai law, extracted cannabis content must contain less than 0.2% THC – generally considered a very small amount of the stuff that gets you high. If you’re visiting Thailand and require this level of THC or less for medicinal use, you can seek out a prescription at one of a network of approved hospitals and clinics. Use your legally-obtained marijuana product in private, and you’re good to go.
Recent updates to this legislation prohibit people under the age of 20, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers from possessing and using cannabis unless they have a doctor’s permission. And there’s also great (or bad?) news for Buddhist monks and novices: Thailand’s Sangha Supreme Council has banned Buddhist monks and novices from smoking or growing cannabis but is allowing them to use it to treat illnesses.
Cannabis is now legal in Thailand, What Travelers Need to Know. Yet decriminalization means that unlicensed vendors feel bold enough to openly sell products that far exceed the government’s THC limit. If you want to play it safe, especially as a guest in Thailand, it’s probably a wise idea to buy and use your medicinal THC products within the approved channels of network-approved hospitals and clinics.