Heading to Thailand for cannabis tourism? Cannabis cafes and shops have sprouted up everywhere since the government decriminalized the plant as a narcotic last year.
But, like most countries embarking on cannabis legalization, there’s confusion and debate about the laws. Especially for tourists.
Can you visit Thailand with the intent of being a cannabis tourist? Yes, according to the government. So long as you follow the rules.
What are the rules? Thailand’s Public Health Ministry has published an English-language infographic entitled “10 Things Tourists Need to Know about Cannabis in Thailand.”
Thailand & Cannabis Tourism: Where Can I Smoke?
When it comes to Thailand and cannabis tourism, you have nothing to fear. So long as you’re over twenty years old and not pregnant or breastfeeding, you can consume it.
Of course, as a tourist, your options may be more limited. If you know someone with a private residence, they can invite you over for a 420 session.
You can also find licensed restaurants with cannabis-infused foods. Not even legal countries like Canada have this option.
You may smell cannabis outside. You may even see people smoking it. But this is still illegal. Unless you want a $750 (USD) fine and a possible three-month prison sentence, we don’t recommend smoking it in public.
Thailand & Cannabis Tourism: Where Can I Buy? Can I Grow It?
Thailand has over 2,000 registered cannabis stores and plenty more unlicensed shops. Unless you know someone and trust their judgment, we recommend just sticking to the legal shops.
These places offer cannabis flowers, pre-rolls, edibles, and oil. However, edible and drink products must have THC levels below 0.2%. There’s an exemption permit, but it’s unlikely the government will issue this to tourists.
There is no consumption limit, and the government advises you not to drive. As a tourist, you may be able to grow it, as the only limitation is getting a permit from the country’s Food and Drug Administration. Whether you can obtain this permit as a tourist remains to be seen.
It is illegal to try and leave the country with any cannabis. As well, bringing cannabis into the country remains an offence.
“Only domestic cannabis cultivated in Thailand has been removed from the narcotic drug list. However, imported cannabis plants are still considered on the narcotic list,” says the infographic.
Do you need a COVID vaccine to get into Thailand? No, however, your medical insurance may require it.
Despite an announcement from the Thai government that it would require proof of vaccination, they rescinded the rule two days later.
“Showing proof of vaccination would be cumbersome and inconvenient,” the Health Minister reported.
Thailand & Cannabis Tourism
Thailand was already worth visiting before they had legal cannabis restaurants. The country has a rich culture, beautiful beaches, and a diverse landscape, making it a popular destination for leisure and adventure travellers.
The Thai government has also made efforts to promote tourism in the country. They spend on airports and hotels and develop tourist-friendly policies to make it easy for visitors to enter and travel around the country. The government also promotes a wide range of activities and attractions to appeal to different types of travellers, like cultural heritage sites and temples to natural parks and beaches.
Decriminalizing cannabis was a smart move.
The government said they plan to translate the infographic guide into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Russian languages.
The 10 things tourists need to know
According to the guide,
- Carrying seeds or parts of cannabis plants from and to Thailand for personal purposes is not permitted.
- Cannabis cultivation is legal, but registering on the Food and Drug Administration’s Plook Ganja application or through a government website is required.
- Using cannabis flower buds for research, export and sale and processing them for commercial purposes requires an official permit.
- Individuals under 20 years old, pregnant women and breastfeeding women are not eligible to use cannabis except under the supervision of health professionals.
- Possession of extracts containing more than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and synthetic THC requires permission.
- Dishes containing cannabis are available in authorized restaurants.
- Approved cannabis health products are accessible through specific channels.
- Smoking cannabis in public spaces, including schools and shopping malls, is illegal.
- Avoid driving after consuming food or health products containing cannabis.
- Those with serious undesirable health outcomes from consuming cannabis should promptly see doctors for treatment.