Cannabis decriminalization in Thailand has been warmly received by its enthusiasts. Despite this, some health experts are concerned about its long-term effects, while prospective cash crop farmers have struggled to keep up with local competition. Thailand became the first Asian country to decriminalize cannabis last year, and since then, thousands of cannabis shops and businesses have opened up across the country, especially in Bangkok and tourist hotspots. Despite the lack of a clear legal framework, consumers have eagerly embraced the decriminalization of the plant. However, lawmakers have failed to pass long-promised legislation that sets forth a clear regulatory structure, leaving the country without an umbrella law to regulate its use. As a result, cannabis that is smuggled in from other countries has saturated the market in Thailand, driving down wholesale prices and negatively impacting growers. Importing any part of the cannabis plant without permission remains strictly illegal according to Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. The thriving black market for cannabis imports has dealt a severe blow to growers who have struggled to compete with low-priced smuggled goods. Still, the decriminalization of cannabis has prompted Thailand to take a bold step forward. Given the potential growth that has arisen since the decriminalization of cannabis last year, it will be critical for the Thai government to establish clear regulations to ensure that everyone affected by the legalization of cannabis in the country benefits. As a long-term stoner who supports the legalization of cannabis globally, I believe this is a significant step forward for Thailand. The thriving black market can be reduced by providing appropriate regulations and licenses, and the decriminalization will support those who believe in natural remedies to cure many health-altering conditions.
As a disclaimer, the opinions expressed in this article don’t reflect those of High Thailand.