The decriminalization of cannabis in Thailand is now official and, in celebration, thousands have turned out for a festival celebrating cannabis and the new laws. Cannabis advocates point to the warm, relaxed atmosphere at the festival as evidence that cannabis decriminalization is a good thing. However, recreational users still face some legal gray areas in Thailand’s new cannabis laws.
The acrid smell of smoke is unmistakable among those celebrating Thailand’s biggest cannabis festival under the stars, following the kingdom’s decriminalization of cannabis.
To follow the latest updates in this story and others from around the world, download our free cannabis news app.
Decriminalization of Cannabis to Improve Economic Prospects
The country has long been known for its harsh drug laws. But the government has relaxed them in recent years, and last Thursday, the full decriminalization of cannabis saw the plant removed from the list of prohibited narcotics.
Through the decriminalization of cannabis, Thailand hopes to make money from the growing global market for legal cannabis products, particularly in the food and medicinal sectors.
At the festival organized by the cannabis advocacy group Highland Network, thousands of happy participants in welcoming in the decriminalization of cannabis.
“As soon as the change happened, we started smoking,” says Steve Cannon, 62, who came with a group of friends. “I’ve been smoking all afternoon,” says the jazz musician, an American who has lived in Bangkok for the past 15 years.
A multimillion dollar market
Some 3,000 participants made the trip to White Sands Beach in Nakhon Pathom province, east of Bangkok, where street stalls sold T-shirts, cannabis pipes, and hashish brownies, all around an idyllic lake.
“We’ve waited so long for the decriminalization of cannabis to happen,” says Victor Zheng, owner of herbalist Nature Masters.
“Look at the people, they come here, and they are so happy,” he says. “Not only us, but customers have waited a long time for this to happen.”
In 2018, Thailand legalized medicinal cannabis – an essential change in this Southeast Asian country of harsh anti-drug laws – and the government has invested in the extraction, distillation, and marketing of oils derived from the plant.
Analyst reports indicate that in the next decade, the decriminalization of cannabis will add between 50,000 and 200,000 million dollars, as countries liberalize their rules around its personal and medicinal use.
Last month, the Thai company Charoen Pokphand Foods — a subsidiary of the giant CP Group — announced plans to develop cannabis beverages and foods once the decriminalization of cannabis was complete. The country’s favorable climatic conditions for growing the plant and its reputation for high-quality agriculture position it well.
Decriminalization of Cannabis Still Leaves Uncertainty About Recreational Use
The decriminalization of cannabis still leaves the recreational use of cannabis in a gray area: smoking outside the home can lead to an arrest due more to a “public disturbance” law than drug legislation. Culprits can be punished with a fine of 25,000 baht ($780), and up to three months in jail.
And cannabis products with more than 0.2% concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the plant’s psychoactive component – remain illegal.
But, at the festival, the police officers present seemed more curious than censors.
The co-owner of the festival, Arun “Max” Avery, 35, said he had no worries after the decriminalization of cannabis. “People are free to do whatever they want,” he says.
DISCLAIMER: This article was written by a third-party contributor and does not reflect the opinion of Hemp.im, its management, staff, or its associates. Please review our disclaimer for more information.
This article may include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements generally are identified by the words “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “become,” “plan,” “will,” and similar expressions. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks as well as uncertainties, including those discussed in the following cautionary statements and elsewhere in this article and on this site. Although the Company may believe that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, the actual results that the Company may achieve may differ materially from any forward-looking statements, which reflect the opinions of the management of the Company only as of the date hereof. Additionally, please make sure to read these important disclosures.
First published by France24, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
Although we made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translations, some parts may be incorrect. Hemp.im assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions, or ambiguities in the translations provided on this website. Any person or entity relying on translated content does so at their own risk. Hemp.im is not responsible for losses caused by such reliance on the accuracy or reliability of translated information. If you wish to report an error or inaccuracy in the translation, we encourage you to contact us.