Cannabis guide for tourists issued
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Cannabis guide for tourists issued

Ministry of Public Health aims to clarify what visitors can and cannot do

A vendor picks cannabis buds from a jar on Khao San Road in Bangkok in July last year. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
A vendor picks cannabis buds from a jar on Khao San Road in Bangkok in July last year. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

The Ministry of Public Health has issued a guide titled “10 Things Tourists Need to Know about Cannabis in Thailand” to improve visitors’ understanding about what they can and cannot do with cannabis in the country.

Thailand is the first Asian country to have decriminalised cannabis, which has led to great interest in cannabis-based products among visitors and people planning to travel to the country, according to Dr Narong Apikulwanit, the ministry’s deputy permanent secretary.

One of the unintended consequences of decriminalisation has been an explosion in recreational use of marijuana, as cannabis was removed from the narcotics list in June before related laws were even considered. Lawmakers are still haggling over a bill to regulate the use and sale of cannabis and it is far from certain that it will pass before the House is dissolved to pave the way for an election later this year.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has insisted that the aim of decriminalisation is to promote medical use of marijuana and create economic opportunities for local people. Foreigners who want to visit Thailand just to get high should think again, he has said.

But in the current legal vacuum, hundreds of cannabis dispensaries — recreational and otherwise — have proliferated and they are well documented on websites such as Highthailand.

Meanwhile, the ministry wants to ensure that visitors are clear on what the law permits so that they can act accordingly. It has asked provincial tourism offices to distribute the English-language handbook to visitors and it plans to make it available in other languages including Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Russian.

The guide can also be downloaded here.

The 10 things tourists need to know are as follows

  1. Carrying seeds or parts of cannabis plants from and to Thailand for personal purposes is not permitted.
  2. Cannabis cultivation is legal but registering on the Food and Drug Administration’s Plook Ganja application or through a government website is required.
  3. Using cannabis flower buds for research, export and sale and processing them for commercial purposes requires an official permit.
  4. Individuals under 20 years old, pregnant women and breastfeeding women are not eligible to use cannabis except under the supervision of health professionals.
  5. Possession of extracts containing more than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and synthetic THC requires permission
  6. Dishes containing cannabis are available in authorised restaurants.
  7. Approved cannabis health products are accessible through specific channels.
  8. Smoking cannabis in public spaces, including schools and shopping malls, is illegal.
  9. Avoid driving after consuming food or health products containing cannabis.
  10. Those who have serious undesirable health outcomes from consuming cannabis should promptly see doctors for treatment.

To download a copy of the guide, scan the QR code.

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