Hello there, Sawadee Krub! Welcome to Thailand.. or if you’re not here yet, we hope that you are reading this as you prepare for your next trip – destination Thailand!

Your flight will bring you to sunny skies, delicious food, and happy, friendly people. You may have previously thought of Thailand in a lascivious way, but there is so much more to the Land of Smiles than beaches, bars and pretty ladies. That said, what happens in Thailand, stays in Thailand – except STDs that is – but that’s none of our business!

Welcome to Highland

Recent Legalization

The recent movements in Thailand take us back to the way Thai people used to live. We are talking about the legalization of cannabis in Thailand, what locals call ganja – pronounced: gun-cha – which passed not too long ago. On June 9th, 2202, Thailand removed marijuana from the national dangerous drugs list.

This was a surprise for Thai people, because initially everyone here didn’t believe that it would be possible for the Government to make such a drastic change. However, just before June 9th, 2022, the Government released inmates who were imprisoned for charges relating to cannabis, from prisons all around the country. While they still warn against recreational smoking, smoking weed is also a traditional Thai medical treatment – for a plethora of ailments – so this interpretation of the law is easily bypassed as everyone can benefit from the medical use of ganja.

This means here in Thailand people have the right to smoke – for medical benefits. In our opinion this right should never have been taken away, as Thai people used to use cannabis in everyday life, as a delicious and healthy addition to Thai cuisine, for animal feed, for medical purposes and for getting high. This practice dates back hundreds – if not thousands – of years.

It is well-recorded that Thai people were commonly using cannabis before Thailand tried to please the West by putting restrictions on the use of ganja. In 1934, growing the plant was banned and then in 1979 it was added to the national narcotics list. If while you are on your holiday in Thailand, you have a chance to visit some famous temples, you may find some Easter Eggs in the form of murals painted on the walls inside some temples.

A Long History of Marijuana Use

A Long History of Marijuana Use
Monkey soldier smoking marijuana

Some examples of this include “Wat Phra Kaew“, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha – one of the top five most famous temples in Thailand – in Bangkok, you will find a picture carved in stone, of a monkey soldier doing the bong thing. At “Wat Mongkut,” in Bangkok, there is a 150-year-old mural depicting a group of monks drinking liquor, smoking marijuana, and playing chess. These depict the ways of Thai people in the past. Some poems written during the reign of King Rama 3 describe how Thai people get high, and even suggest that housewives grind weed for their husband before they arrive home from working.

A Long History of Marijuana Use
Thai people in the past smoking weed in their home

Thais were commonly using ganja in their everyday lives before any laws relating to such were put into effect. Yet here we are, back to the future, in the era of 2022, where the number of registered users/growers for weed of all types has reached over 1 million on the Government online application database, with likely millions more unconcerned with registering their newly legal hobby. The Government here, with associated ministries such as the Ministry of Public Health have also dispensed plants to civilians for growing at home, these plants are likely GMO however – pushed by greedy corporate sponsors – and not something we would touch or sell.

A Long History of Marijuana Use
Plookganja application

The Normalization of Cannabis Use in Thailand

To aid in bringing marijuana from underground to above-ground, many cannabis dispensaries have opened up all over the country, including in Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket, and Bangkok, etc. Ganja clinics now treat patients with this ancient medical treatment and also dispense herbal medicines which include cannabis in the mix of ingredients. Farmers, growers, breeders, sellers, and even buyers are now all terms commonly used here to describe someone who works in cannabis agriculture. Everyone in the Kingdom seems to be happy with the legalization.

From now on, previously underground consumers can go to the police if they get cheated. Something that just a few years ago would seem ridiculous and stupid. To conduct business here relating to weed, one must first obtain a license, which is simple to obtain and inexpensive. However, if you just grow a few plants by yourself, and you don’t want to do business, for home use, you need not apply for a license.

Since cannabis has been legalized, there have been some news reports showing the disadvantages of its use, especially in children who do not know the effects. The Bhum-jai-thai political party’s legalization of ganja was blamed in the headlines, however this is about political games and media manipulation of the facts. Almost all cannabis fans are well aware of this.

The opposition leader, who has good connections in the media, keeps discrediting the policy in an attempt to win more votes. Even though the Bangkok’s new Governor announced the news that a man here died by overdose – which few people believe to be true – the content of the news described that the man actually died due to a heart attack. This said, it is indisputable that there are dissenters who have suddenly become concerned about the legalization of cannabis and it’s potential effect on adolescents. There is also some concerned about ganja in food and beverages and how easy it is for children to access.

The Normalization of Cannabis Use in Thailand
Anutin Charnvirakul

Conditions to the Laws about Weed

After Anutin Charnvirakul, head of the Ministry of Public Health, became aware of these issues, he put regulations in place such as: if using cannabis as an ingredient, you must have a clear sign or notification to alert customers that it is in the food or drinks. It is also illegal to sell to anyone under the age under 20 or to pregnant women. Further regulations for cannabis are coming soon too, one of which will would allow people to grow up to 15 plants per household. Other laws currently being discussed will forbid people in Thailand to promote cannabis and/or accessories relating to its use, although this will be almost impossible to regulate as papers, pipes, bongs and other accessories can be used for purposes other than just smoking weed.

Currently, legally, it is not permitted to exaggerated medical benefits of ganja in advertisements. You are not allowed to get high and drive, and food that contains cannabis is not allowed to by sold in vending machines.

None of the above should really affect you as a tourist here in Thailand (except the law about driving while high), just relax enjoy your time in this wonderful country. Sit back, have a smoke as you like – but avoid doing so in busy, public areas – and you are guaranteed a good time here. If you have any questions about weed in Thailand or where to buy specific cannabis related items, feel free to contact us and we’ll help out if we can.