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Marijuana Consumption Decriminalized In Thailand For Tourists And Locals
Thailand decriminalized marijuana for both tourists and locals on Thursday. This is the first country in Asia to decriminalized cannabis. On Thursday, Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul signed a measure that took marijuana off the list of illegal drugs. This means that people can now both grow and consume cannabis, under certain conditions. So, here’s a breakdown of Thailand’s new measure.
Parts of the plant were previously legal to grow and consume. But, not the parts of the marijuana plant that are psychoactive. Thursday, Anutin signed a measure that took cannabis buds and flowers off the list of banned drugs. There are some caveats to the new measure including the fact that smoking recreationally won’t be allowed.
The exciting news is that yes, marijuana and hemp have been taken off the country’s list of illegal drugs. Additionally, the Health Minister will be working with the Agriculture Ministry, “to distribute 1 million marijuana seedlings, beginning Friday,” reported NPR. The seedlings will go to individual households in Thailand in hopes of sparking economic growth.
Also on Thursday, dispensaries opened and sold THC products openly for the first time. Anutin hopes that the legalization will indeed boost the economy of Thailand by billions, but he warns potential recreational tourists.
It is legal for tourists to use cannabis while visiting. Although, there are certain restrictions. Anutin commented to CNN, “Thailand will promote cannabis policies for medical purposes. If [tourists] come for medical treatment or come for health-related products then it’s not an issue but if you think that you want to come to Thailand just because you heard that cannabis or marijuana is legal … [or] come to Thailand to smoke joints freely, that’s wrong… We won’t welcome you if you just come to this country for that purpose.”
An activist and cannabis entrepreneur, Kitty Chopaka of Bangkok told CNN that she welcomes the change, “The key point of advocating for cannabis legalization is to promote safe and responsible use. [The fact is] cannabis will now be as legal as garlic, there’s no rule or laws imposed to control it.”
As part of this new measure, over three thousand inmates with cannabis charges will be released from jail on Thursday. Cannabis festivals planned for this weekend will celebrate the new changes. Attendees can expect concerts, conference panels and edibles. Apart from the rightful celebration, there are still gaps in the country’s new measures.
Chopaka warns that in spite of the exciting news of marijuana consumption being decriminalized in Thailand, “it’s probably best to use cannabis in a private space away from people. We don’t want to see people [still going] to jail.”