The recent 180-degree flip that Thailand’s laws have taken has gone from zero tolerance to decriminalization, and it’s lighting up an industry that’s worth a billion dollars. Officially, cannabis can be used for therapeutic purposes; nevertheless, due to the legal ambiguity surrounding the issue, “ganja” enthusiasts are celebrating.
It was in this country that people first used the terms “bong” and “ganja” to refer to marijuana.
Cannabis has a long history of use in the traditional medicine of Thailand, dating back millennia.
But when the United States began its “war on drugs” in the 1970s, Thailand became a crucial collaborator in the effort. At that time, Thailand added cannabis to the list of narcotics and increased the severity of the punishments for possessing it.
This country removed it from that list in June of this year, which meant that those who sold cannabis or used it for recreational purposes no longer faced the possibility of going to jail for either of those activities.
The term “ganja culture” is becoming increasingly used in tourist destinations. In the party district of Khao San Road in Bangkok, it appears to be simpler to purchase a joint than a Pad Thai dish.
Choco Gonzales, a cannabis merchant based in Bangkok, is quoted as saying, “Now that it’s legal — God bestowed a gift for us.”
The world-famous full moon celebration is currently taking place on the island of Koh Phangan, which is located in the southeast of the country.
An Italian tourist who was attending the party made the remark that “everywhere you go now, it’s Amsterdam again in Asia.”
Southeast Asia journalist Mazoe Ford travels throughout Thailand to meet the new crop of ‘ganja-preneurs’ cashing in on the green rush. This is happening at the same time that Australia is reigniting its own debate about legalizing cannabis.
Kitty Chopaka, who owns a shop in Bangkok that sells products made from cannabis and is a prominent supporter for its decriminalization, is still pinching herself.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that something like this would truly take place…
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On the other hand, I was aware that it had to be completed.
Carl Lamb, proprietor of a resort on the southern island of Samui, believes that the relaxation of some legal restrictions is luring visitors from other countries.
You can tell the market has been given a new lease on life thanks to it. There’s a new spirit in this place.’
Anutin Charnvirakul, who is the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Health, gives Ford a ride on his private plane as well. Ford uses this opportunity to discuss the policy with him.
He takes us to the eastern part of Thailand to promote the medicinal cannabis sector, which the Thai government is hoping will grow into an industry worth a billion dollars.
In his conversation with Ford, he says, “It came out that the majority of my voters chose to vote for my party… some people even called my party (the) “Cannabis Party.”
However, some people are excited about the new developments. Over a thousand medical professionals have expressed concern that the medicine was removed from the market before the appropriate precautions and restrictions were in place.
Doctor Chanchai Sittipunt, who works at the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University, is quoted as saying, “We don’t want to be the cannabis refuge of the world.”
Kitty Chopaka, however, maintains that it is impossible to turn back the hands of time because the genie has already been let out of the bottle.
Read the full Thailand cannabis information here.