The legalisation of cannabis in Thailand has been a topic of controversy since it was first proposed by the Bhumjaithai Party. But, as of June 9 2022, it’s now a reality. The new law made Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia to legalise cannabis for medical purposes. The reform was hailed as a massive win for advocates of the herb and supporters believed the legalisation could also benefit the nation’s political landscape. The health minister who lead the charge towards legalisation, Autinn Charnvirakul, is looking forward to reaping political gains in the upcoming political election. He hopes that his political party, Bhumjaithai, will become a significant influence in the next government, after winning 51 seats in the 2019 election. The new election rules favour larger parties, something that Bhumjaithai hasn’t always had in its favour. With the legalisation of cannabis, the party has seen an increase in popularity, despite receiving criticism over the loose regulations. Legalisation of cannabis appears to be a proven vote winner in Thailand, with millions of people believing in its benefits. As the strict regulations surrounding cannabis production and use continue to be debated and polished in the coming years, it’s possible that many more Thais will embrace the cannabis-based economy. The legalisation of cannabis could lead to a spike in research around the herb, ultimately leading to many more medical benefits being discovered. Many hope that it will also decriminalise cannabis use for both medical and recreational users, and create substantial opportunities in industries such as agriculture, textiles and medicine, unlock the vast potential of this miracle plant, and provide its millions of consumers with safe access, which they have been deprived of for so long. Cannabis remains a topic of extreme interest to the people of Thailand and is one that we, in the media, must continue to cover. It is something that warrants more discussion and research so that governments worldwide can take evidence-based decisions rather than giving in to political pressures. After all, it’s the health and welfare of citizens that should be paramount.
As a disclaimer, the opinions expressed in this article don’t reflect those of High Thailand.