What We Know About Thailand’s Legalisation of Marijuana


Let’s Talk Cannabis! What We Know About Thailand’s Legalisation of Marijuana

The global legal marijuana market is expected to expand by 2030, reaching US$102.2 billion at a compound annual growth rate of 2.5% from 2022, according to a recent report from market research firm Grand View Research.

The major drivers of its growth are marijuana legalisation for medicinal purposes, recreational use (for adults only), and treating chronic ailments.

Recently, Thailand made a landmark announcement as the first country in Asia to legalise the use of cannabis for medical and industrial purposes only. Thailand has become the first country to decriminalise the cultivation and possession of marijuana, as the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officially removed the plant from the Category 5 narcotics list.

For the record, Thailand still does not allow the recreational use of marijuana and the policies and limitations are currently being discussed.

While debates about the use of cannabis remain wide, here are some important things that you need to know about marijuana in Thailand.

Use ‘Plookganja’ App to Register

Plookganja” was introduced by the FDA in June 2022 as a registration requirement for residents who want to cultivate cannabis and hemp plants. By providing authorities with accurate data on where and how much cannabis is being cultivated, this website and app will be a valuable tool for

companies looking to access raw materials for the production of cannabis and hemp-based products.

Applicants who wish to grow marijuana and hemp must secure a digital certificate and provide complete information, including their purpose and the number of plants they intend to grow.

However, days after its release, the app was unresponsive to many users and kept crashing after it received more than nine million applications, Public Health Ministry Spokesman Panthep Phuaphongphan said on June 9.

Marijuana Legalisation Benefits Thai Farmers

The Thai government said marijuana legalisation is for medical and economic reasons. This means that this could help Thai farmers and local companies to benefit from the medical cannabis market despite the strong competition against companies from Canada, Europe, and the United States.

According to a report from The Straits Times on June 13, there is a farming community in Lampang that has been feeding its chickens with cannabis as a substitute for antibiotics.

They claimed that the chickens fed with cannabis showed improvement in the quality of their meat and eggs based on the experiment conducted by the Peth Lanna community enterprise in cooperation with Chiang Mai University's Faculty of Agriculture.

The marijuana helped those chickens suffering from avian bronchitis as the poultry animals showed greater resistance to the disease and the cold weather. Moreover, National Farmers Council president Prapat Panyachatrak said cannabis-infused chicken products are safer than those with antibiotics, which trigger allergies and cause a weaker immune system.

Low-THC Cannabis-Based Food and Drinks are Legal

Smoking marijuana in public places clearly remains illegal in Thailand. People who are caught lighting or smoking marijuana in public places will be subject to imprisonment for up to three months and a fine of THB25,000.

However, there are a few dining places in the country where locals and tourists may get cannabis-infused food and drinks.

To ensure the items served are legally compliant, these food and beverage products must contain less than 0.2% THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound responsible for triggering the state of “high” associated with smoking the plant. Some products you may try are Japanese sushi, pesto pasta, cocktails, brownies, and more.

Cannabis Sandbox Scheme

Cannabis Sandbox is being proposed as an alternative to the current policy on the recreational use of marijuana.

The Cannabis Sandbox scheme will be part of the Cannabis Act, which would likely allow people aged 20 years old and above to use marijuana for recreational purposes. However, this should be done in a specific area approved by the FDA and the amount of cannabis should not be more than 0.2% THC.

On the other hand, the Public Health Ministry’s narcotics control committee strictly reminds the public that planting and growing cannabis at home should be for medical purposes only to prevent marijuana abuse, especially among youth and young adults.

Degree in Cannabis Science

The exclusion of cannabis and hemp plants from the list of illegal drugs in Thailand also impacts the academe. But even before the legalisation of cannabis in the country, Rangsit University in Thailand was the first institution to offer marijuana studies in 2019.

Due to the increasing demand for “skilled ganja professionals,” other universities that have ventured into cannabis are the Suranaree University of Technology in Nakhon Ratchasima, Maejo University in Chiang Mai, and Rajamangala University of Technology Isan (RMUTI) Khon Kaen Campus.

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