Cannabis has been legalized in Thailand since June 9, 2022. Thailand was the first country in Asia who legalized marijuana. After Canada and Uruguay, Thailand became the third nation in the world to decriminalize marijuana on a global scale. Since the legalization happened very recently, there are a few things you need to know about the marijuana policy in Thailand. We will explain this to you in this interesting blog. Do not hesitate any longer and start reading.
Southeast Asia has a lengthy history of known marijuana use, just like many other regions of the world. Southeast Asia has long used Marijuana as a source of fiber, a medication, a food supplement, and an ingredient. Boat noodle soup is the most well-known historical example of Marijuana being used as a spice in Thailand.
In the past, Thailand has made clothing and rope from Marijuana plant fibers. Marijuana has been used as a textile material by the minority ethnic Hmong people of Thailand, who are originally from China. Even now, Thailand exports a lot of hemp-fiber clothes.
Furthermore, early Muay Thai battles employed hemp. Thai fighters would wear hemp hand wraps that ended in seashell-shaped knobs over each knuckle to protect their hands during battle. Western-style boxing gloves will eventually take the place of this kind of hand protection in the 1920s.
Political aspect – Thai government’s opinion
With almost 285,000 prisoners, Thailand has the highest jail population in the ASEAN, and more than 80% of its prisoners are there for drug-related offenses. Ironically, the extensive legalization is unintentionally a result of that oppressive heritage. After consulting with international organizations including the United Nations, Thailand revealed progressive new drug laws last December in an effort to reduce the jail population by getting addicts out of cells and into treatment. The interministerial committee in charge of drug policy, however, was unable to decide on the precise restrictions to be imposed on marijuana. This was primarily due to the Bhumjaithai Party’s (a significant member of the ruling coalition and the party of Health Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul), a flagship policy of decriminalizing the plant.
The six-month deadline for reaching a consensus on marijuana legalization expired on June 9 largely as a result of Anutin’s reluctance and, according to sources, his threats to bring down the government if committee members disobeyed him. Marijuana automatically became legal in that void.
Anutin’s argument was that marijuana may develop into a worthwhile revenue crop to reduce poverty among farmers in rural areas. Actually, it was only one of several policy gimmicks his new party engaged in before of the 2019 general election in Thailand. Anutin has distributed 1 million marijuana plants to families as part of planned media stunts since decriminalization.
The maniacal marijuana free-for-all in Thailand is encountering strong opposition from social conservatives and those in the medical community. The major opposition group, the Pheu Thai and Democrat Party, which is a part of the government coalition, unexpectedly opposed the bill to regulate the wider use of marijuana.
Since Thailand’s historic decriminalization, the government has consistently emphasized the focus on medical and commercial use while disapproving of recreational use. While the original measure did not expressly forbid recreational smoking, it did state that doing so in public would be against the law. In the absence of tighter restrictions on recreational smoking in the updated version, the parties opposed to the marijuana bill in its current form have threatened to vote against the measure.
Additionally, they oppose the provision that permits households to register and cultivate up to 15 marijuana plants. Thailand is paving the way for the rest of Asia with its effort to legalize marijuana on a larger scale. In stark contrast, Singapore, one of its neighbors, has a zero-tolerance policy for the drug that has resulted in large fines, long jail sentences, and even the death penalty.
What the policy entails
Abuse of drugs and other narcotics has long been a troubling problem in Thailand. Bangkok Post reported that Thai officials recovered 260 million drugs and roughly 2.4 billion baht in assets from drug suspects in the six months from the end of 2021 to the start of 2022. The Narcotic Act and Psychotropic Substances Act are two Thai laws that rigorously regulate drug-related offenses. The Thailand Office of Narcotic Boards and other relevant agencies, including the police, regulate and keep an eye on the use, distribution, and possession of drugs as well as any supplements.
Thailand is known for having tough laws that prevent drug abuse and narcotics-related crimes. The use of severe penalties such as the death penalty or a life sentence, in an effort to combat drug trafficking. The law has been altered, nonetheless, as a result of the nation’s ongoing development. The world was shocked when Thailand legalized cannabis usage, and the new law places more emphasis on criminals being rehabilitated. Despite considerable liberalization of the Kingdom’s drug and narcotic laws, drug possession and trafficking may still result in severe punishments. Drug offenders from abroad may suffer severe legal consequences and extradition to their home nations. To protect oneself and stay out of trouble with the law and pay heavy fines or serve time in jail, it is essential to be knowledgeable about key parts of Thailand’s drug and narcotics legalization.
The Measure for Suppressing Narcotic Offenders Act 2534 (1991), which defines a variety of laws as ‘’rules managing narcotics and laws governing active materials which have an active influence on the mind and the nerves’’, has provisions for drug-related offenses. For practical purposes, the Psychotropic Substances Act 2518 and the Narcotics Act 2522 (1979) are the two most significant Acts (1975).
Pros and cons of the legalization of marijuana in Thailand
Marijuana is available in a variety of forms, and research on its health advantages seems to be progressing. Because of their powerful pain-relieving abilities, marijuana strains with a high CBD to THC ratio are highly sought after in Thailand. The following health benefits are available to marijuana drug users.
To begin with that Cannabinoids (CBD) may assist to relieve the side symptoms of cancer and cancer treatment, such as nausea and vomiting, even though there aren’t much clinical research looking at marijuana as a cancer treatment.
Depression is a prevalent mental health condition marked by unhappiness, loss of interest in activities and social contact, and decreased energy. One million Thai teenagers had depression in 2017, with many going untreated. This resulted in acts of violence, self-harm, emotional instability, and illegal drug usage. These young people’s moods can be stabilized, and their depression can be reduced thanks to the marijuana ingredient CBD. Marijuana use helps relieve chronic pain. By lowering the body’s inflammatory response, CBD’s indirect action on the CB2 receptors in the body assists in the relief of generalized pain.
Additionally, more than 4,000 Marijuana-related prisoners in Thailand were released on June 9. Which is the most significant event to highlight this transition. All criminal records will be removed after their release. A mere stroke of the pen resulted in the cannabis plant being removed off the list of illegal drugs, which is an act of compassion.
By 2024, the Thai government anticipates that the annual marijuana industry in the country will be worth US$2 billion. There are more and more marijuana expos coming up to draw in investors and newbies, like World Marijuana Day 420, presented by CISW Internationals.
Even if marijuana provides a lot of advantages, there are also some drawbacks. Some of the reasons given by individuals opposed to its use include the regular marijuana use might significantly impair your short-term memory. Secondly marijuana has the potential to be abused and lead to addiction. Furthermore, marijuana use impairs driving abilities and raises the risk of auto accidents. As a result of the government’s aggressive promotion of the marijuana health advantages, both teenagers and adults may continue to use it, which could lead to an increase in the health issues that affect up to one in ten habitual users, such as addiction and psychosis.
By giving information about the history of the legalization of marijuana in Thailand, explaining the political aspect, and explaining what the policy entails, we hope you know a lot about the legalization of marijuana in Thailand. We also wanted to show you the pros and cons of the legalization, so it would give the right perspective. By watching this video, you will get a better virtual inside sight of this topic. Go watch it!