Was there on the first day after the legalization an the owner Is also one of the pioneers in the cannabis industry in Thailand. Super cool shop and owners which a nice selection of buds! Must visit.
Sukhumweed, located on Sukhumvit Soi 42 near the corner with Rama IV, is the brainchild of Soranut “Beer” Masayavanich. The shop is a multi-floor, multi-themed physical manifestation of Beer’s personality.
The street level cannabis dispensary is cozy with friendly budtenders ready to advise and recommend on available strains. A couple tables with rolling instruments are available for tokers ready to prepare their own joints. Stickers adorn the doors to the dispensary, and portraits of rap’s royalty hang on the walls. The usual pipes, bongs, rolling papers and t-shirts are also available at the ground floor for purchase.
The star of the dispensary area is the cannabis itself, twenty-five locally grown genetics from the Local Growers Club as of the date herein. The Local Growers Club are a group of elite Thai cannabis cultivators—with quality rivaling anything found in country or elsewhere, these days. Indeed, many of the Local Growers are stars themselves in the Thai weed scene with established names like: Canis Major, T-Rex, Olive The Gardner, 66Zombies and Underground Growers.
The Boutique and Smoking Lounge
Above the dispensary is a large multi-functioning loft consisting of a bar, ice cream corner, pool table, fashion boutique, cannabis cloning and growing area, skateboard ramps, DJ booth, and smoking lounge with massage chair and laser light show. The area is large, comfortable yet high end, chic, fun yet adult, authentic and unique.
The goods sold are all high end, unique and sleek. These include smoking paraphernalia such as grinders, rolling trays; clothing; skate boards; cannabis clones; art; bags; etc. etc. Nothing is fake, nothing is cheap, nothing is low quality, everything is on brand. Sukhumweed is a cannabis boutique for the educated toker, for the stylish toker, for the lifestyle toker. VIPs and celebrities regularly hang out or book the entire second floor for social events or to just chill out. International VIPs often come directly from the airport to Sukhumweed.
The shop is intended to recreate Beer’s living room and home. “Rappers and skaters come to my home and hang out. I’ve got a room for bongs, for my band, for growing and cloning. I just want to recreate or move everything which is in my house to the shop. I basically moved my entire life here.”
“Sukhumweed is still a work in progress. We will recreate my full recording studio on the third floor so that artists can come by record, smoke, hang out and be comfortable.”
The Thai cannabis scene has only had a legal framework for about four years. When medicinal cannabis was first allowed a handful of resourceful, enterprising, and otherwise connected folks were able to work within this framework. Even more people came about the scene once cannabis was delisted as a controlled narcotic on June 9th of this year. We consider these folks to be pioneers in the Thai weed industry.
By contrast, “Beer” Masayavanich has far predated such “pioneers”, working in the cannabis space for the last 20 years. Dedicating himself to farming, drafting and legislating, looking for lost landrace strains, trying to salvage unique Thai genetics, and educating all in the Thai cannabis space. “Professor Beer”, who still remains a student of cannabis, has educated farmers and cultivators, politicians, social leaders and the marketplace in general. This has been his life’s work and this is evident in Sukhumweed and every company, industry, farm and person that Sukhumweed touches.
Beer’s life and involvement to date with cannabis has been working underground against the grain. “I’ve been doing this for twenty years. It’s so great now. So much better than what I’ve come from.” He started growing cannabis when it was still very much taboo, illegal and dangerous. Living on farms without plumbing. Moving locations every night to hide from both the law and underground elements. Sleeping with necessary protection to protect against violent attack. “I could have stayed home. I could have lived a good life. My journey has been long and fun. Well, actually, a lot of it not fun. Overall hectic. So many people around me are surprised that I’m not dead or in prison. But I’m stubborn as fuck and I fight for what I love.”
For the last five years, Beer has been working in the legitimate cannabis space mainly as an advisor to the Government as well as the Bhumjaithai Party, which has been so instrumental on cannabis legalization. Beer has worked on the drafting of the existing laws, lead government delegations abroad, worked with farms and helped build out the initial infrastructure for licensed cannabis growers. He has been a champion to keep “genetics free and open” to make sure that these are always available for Thai farmers and the market.
When most growers in the legal cannabis space were growing and focusing on CBD, Beer shunned the trend and continued to grow, train and work with THC genetics, including looking for all those original Thai landraces lost to the “war on drugs”. He developed, researched (and continues to this day) his own exotics, experimenting, trying to reclaim what has been lost. “The genetics we miss today could have been something crazy. So many lost opportunities. There could have been a Thai OG. It will be hard to get the strains back.” While we do miss those genetics, Beer was nonetheless in a prime position once Cannabis legalized with a focus on high quality cannabis and a group of highly educated and talented growers available to source Sukhumweed.
It is not an exaggeration to state that Beer, working within the government and the Bhumjaithai party, has some responsibility for our ability to freely use Cannabis in Thailand today. Beer is rightfully proud of this accomplishment and credits the Minister of Health with pushing through with campaign promises. “Anutin did it. He didn’t drop the ball. He said he was going to do it, and he finally did it, bro! It was not easy. No government has ever done it. But they did it, and working for the party, worked. He said he wasn’t going to give up, and he didn’t. He did it!”
“When everyone was telling me to grow CBD, I continued to grow THC. Each village I worked with had its own project. Its own unique thing. And now its working. Its legalized and the demand is there. This, cannabis, is working for the people! Those farmers, those villagers, it is working for them.”
“While I was working with the government and training, we had farmers learning and getting better. Look where we are today. We have some sick farmers in Thailand. The Local Growers Club and the farmers now, cannabis legalization is a gift to the community. To the growers. The profits go the boys and business keeps improving.”
“Sukhumweed is doing more than just promoting the Local Growers Club. We also provide consultations—without costs—to Thai farmers trying to grow. We hold workshops and we will continue holding workshops. We are helping raise the level of Thai growers.”
Sukhumweed and all the companies, people, farms and legalization, are the culmination of Beer’s work both in his underground farming days as well as through government and business. But the fight is not over. The high demand for cannabis has seen the market flooded with cheap and dubious imported buds. These illegal imports threaten the development of sustainable localized cannabis market. With regards to such imports Beer has a clear message: “I’ve been fighting this. They should know my reputation. Don’t fuck with me. No white boy is taking away my job. We are taking the market back! Its ours. It’s the end of the gelatos. Its time for Thai strains and Thai genetics.”
For Beer, the future of Thai cannabis and the environment is bright. Too much work has already gone into the market to turn back, and too many people are already experiencing positive changes. The clocks cannot be turned back, and more positives are to come.
“It’s been weird, but happy and cool. I’m enjoying the ride. Life is good. I don’t spend as much time growing now as I used to partly because I work with such high quality growers. But also because I have so much focus on further developing Sukhumweed and the culture. The Local Growers Club are providing our genetics, but we are working with international cannabis brands on other products: fashion, experiences, hostels and hotels. The sky is the limit.”
“People are already copying what I have, the brand. I take it as flattery. I saw some guys in Taiwan producing fake Sukhumweed T-Shirts. When they’re copying me internationally, you know we are doing something right.”
“We are not finished working and developing. Sukhumweed has already transformed and improved the neighborhood. We want to help further develop Sukhumvit Soi 42 and our surroundings, to make this a destination, where people can come here and hang out, but then also go and experience the restaurants around and the neighborhood.”
“And this, legalization of cannabis, is making positive changes. We are seeing that its giving tourism a second chance after Covid. So many people are coming to Thailand right now just to experience what is happening. To check out the dispensaries. Tourism will only get stronger and more developed over time with specific cannabis tourism activities like dispensary tours, farm tours.”
“Thailand is going to be the new Cali in 10 years, except it will be better. It will be safer, cheaper and we have better food.”
“We will see a renaissance of Thai culture. A new generation of artists are already emerging and will continue to develop. It will be like the ‘60s again. Thailand will have the best music. We will change the way people see and listen to art. Society will develop further with a new generation of artists and free thinkers. You see, artists are already coming in and just hanging out.” Indeed, at that very moment, recording artist Gena Desouza dropped in to take a few photos.
There is a lot of discussion about the overnight “surprise” legalization of cannabis in Thailand and the overnight success of dispensaries and the market. The reality is that legalization was not done overnight but through years of hard work of many people throughout Thai society.
Soranut “Beer” Masayavanich has dedicated his life, his safety and his reputation to the legalization of cannabis. He has succeeded, but bares the scars, physical and emotional, of his struggle and is not finished. His products, the cannabis, Sukhumweed and all the related companies, are things of beauty. The Local Growers Club’s genetics are high quality. Suhkumweed is unlike any other cannabis lifestyle brand and experience in Thailand. Several lifestyle and cannabis culture brands and companies are becoming mainstream thanks to Beer’s efforts and name. These are not the results of an overnight success, these are the products of fighting, of hard work, of blood, sweat and tears. Thailand’s tokers, Thailand’s growers, Thailand’s businesses, and Thailand’s people, are the ultimate beneficiaries of this hard work. Beer and Sukhumweed, and all they stand for, deserve their place as the faces of Thai cannabis. We at HighThailand highly recommend Sukhumweed for both cannabis and culture—we also tip our hats out of respect to the life’s work Sukhumweed represents.