As of Thursday (June 9) marijuana will be decriminalised in Thailand.
The milestone ruling, which will see marijuana and hemp removed from the category 5 narcotics list, means that it will no longer be a criminal offence to grow or buy and sell marijuana or hemp products.
People can also legally buy cannabis laced food and drinks, medical products and cosmetics.
The legal change makes Thailand, previously known for its hardline stance of drugs, the first country in Southeast Asia to decriminalise marijuana.
The move is seen as a way to bolster Thailand’s agricultural and tourism sectors, as well meeting the growing demand for marijuana infused food products and medical treatments.
In order to encourage people to start growing cannabis, Thailand’s Health Ministry recently announced plans to distribute a million plants to households free of charge.
No stoner’s paradise
Although people will legally be allowed to grow marijuana at home from June 9 there are some significant differences between the decriminalisation of marijuana in Thailand compared to places such as the Netherlands or certain states in the USA.
Despite decriminalisation, only marijuana that contains very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is legal.
THC is the psychoactive compound in marijuana that causes people to feel high or ‘stoned’.
In Thailand only marijuana that contains 0.2 percent THC or lower is legal.
By comparison, marijuana bought from the famous coffee shops of Amsterdam contains around 15 percent THC.
People can’t simply roam the streets in Thailand smoking a joint and according to the law, there are still fines of up to 25,000 baht and/or prison sentences of three months for anyone who does.
Many businesses, such as restaurants or coffee shops serving marijuana infused products to spas and other establishments offering medical marijuana treatments, are expecting an increase in sales, especially as international tourism starts to return.
However, the focus, at least for now, is aimed at medicine, cosmetics and food as opposed to Thailand becoming some kind of ‘stoner’s paradise’.