June 13, 2022: -Thailand made it legal to grow and have marijuana as of Thursday; it is good news for the new generations and all the pot smokers recalling the kick provided by the legendary Thai Stick variety.
On Friday, the public health minister’s distribution of 1 million marijuana seedlings started adding to the belief that Thailand has changed into a weed wonderland.
The decision by the Food and Drug Administration to remove all of the plants from the category of narcotic drugs makes Thailand the first nation in Asia to decriminalize marijuana for medical and industrial use. But it is not after the examples of Uruguay and Canada, the two countries that have legalized recreational marijuana nationally.
So far, there will be no effort to police what people produce and smoke at home, which declares it is for medical purposes.
On Thursday, a few Thai advocates celebrated by purchasing marijuana at a café that had been limited to selling products made out of plants that do not get people high. The dozen or so people turning up early at the Highland Café could choose from different buds like Sugarcane, Bubblegum, Purple Afghani, and UFO.
“I can say it out loud that I am a cannabis smoker. I don’t need to hide as in the past when it was named as an illegal drug,” said 24-year-old Rittipong Bachkul, the day’s first customer. Marijuana is known as cannabis or ganja in Thailand.
“As far as the government is concerned, it’s their job to promote medical use only. But it is pretty clear that we have come very far and finally are legalizing its use. The government is well aware that it’s more pros than cons,” said Rattapon Sanrak, the café’s co-owner and a longtime legalization activist.
The country is called for its Thai Stick variety, named after how its potent flowers are dried and tied into sticks and is the origin of many strains now grown overseas.
Thailand’s government has warned those eager to light up for fun that smoking in public could still be deemed a nuisance, subject to a potential 3-month jail sentence and 25,000 baht ($780) fine. And marijuana extracts, like oil, remain illegal if they contain more than 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical that makes people high.
Tourists should move cautiously until the rules become more apparent after a new cannabis law is passed, said Prof. Sarana Sommano of Chiang Mai University’s Department of Plant and Soil Sciences.
“There are still risks. The problem is that cannabis is not considered a narcotic, but there are no ministry regulations and rules governing its use,” she said.