Over a year after Thailand took the pioneering step in Southeast Asia to decriminalize cannabis, the nation’s parliament is set to introduce a comprehensive law to regulate its use strictly for medical and research applications. The move comes in response to the need for specific guidelines to curb unchecked cannabis consumption, especially among the youth.
The cannabis industry in Thailand has witnessed rapid growth, with projections estimating its worth to reach up to US$1.2 billion in the coming years. The capital city, Bangkok, and popular tourist destinations like Phuket have seen a surge in cannabis shops.
Saritpong Kiewkong, a representative of the Bhumjaithai party, which played a pivotal role in the decriminalization process and is now a significant faction in Thailand’s 11-party coalition government, emphasized that cannabis would strictly be for “medical purposes and research.” He further clarified to the media that there’s “no policy for recreational use” and such considerations are not on the table currently.
The proposed legislation, which aims to unify measures against public consumption, is anticipated to be finalized and passed within a year. It will address licenses for cultivation, sales, distribution, and will introduce stringent regulations against selling in temples, schools, and amusement parks. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has previously voiced his support solely for the medical application of cannabis, excluding recreational use.