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Thailand Expected To Go Backwards On Cannabis Policy

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In June 2022, Thailand reformed its cannabis policies to permit adult-use cannabis cultivation and possession in instances involving cannabis varieties low in THC. At the time it was hailed as an amazing achievement for the global cannabis reform movement, and it served as a particularly big deal in the region where Thailand is located.

It really seemed that Thailand’s government was fully invested in pursuing cannabis reform and making cannabis a national product. Every household in the entire country could sign up initially to legally cultivate low-THC cannabis plants. It was the first time in the history of the world that such a public policy was implemented at a national level.

At the time Thailand’s Public Health Minister indicated that there would be no plant limit for the government’s cultivation program. Thailand’s government also gave away over 1 million cannabis seeds directly to households that signed up. Additionally, the government gave out low-interest loans to help aspiring cultivators get their operations started.

Thailand’s government also launched an app to help streamline the process of people signing up their households to cultivate cannabis. An FAQ public service announcement effort was launched to help people understand the law and cultivation program back then.

A broad spectrum of government agencies in Thailand previously agreed to do their part to push Thailand’s emerging cannabis industry forward. Thailand also released thousands of people serving time for cannabis offenses.

By every measure, Thailand was trying to become an international cannabis powerhouse back in 2022. However, that was then, and big changes appear to be on the way, with Thailand expected to regress on its national approach to cannabis policy. Per Bangkok Post:

Smoking cannabis is likely to require a permit from a doctor, according to Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew, who says his new cannabis bill differs from a failed predecessor as it will be very clear on how to use the plant for medical treatment.

Dr Cholnan insisted that the bill preserves a key point that cannabis is to be used for medical treatment only, and any use for recreational purposes will not be allowed.

It’s unfortunate that Thailand’s government is pursuing this new approach to cannabis. Cannabis use is widespread in Thailand, particularly after such a big push by the government itself in 2022. It’s going to be impossible to eliminate recreational use in Thailand, just as it is in every other nation, and Thailand would be wise to improve on its current model rather than scrap it.