Cannabis is Thailand’s “secret weapon” to bring back tourists, health official says

Cannabis tour "kick-off" (March 2022) | Photo by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul

One public health official says Thailand has a “secret weapon” to bring back tourists… It’s cannabis. Some experts and officials hope that decriminalising marijuana, alongside declaring Covid-19 as endemic, will help tourism in Thailand bounce back to pre-pandemic levels.

The public health official made the statement over the weekend at a medical marijuana conference at Surin’s Rajamangala University of Technology. Many experts and officials discussed the benefits of decriminalising the plant, not only for health purposes, but also for the economy. However, while cannabis cafes and shops have been popping up all over Thailand, the products won’t cause a ‘high’ as cannabis extracts with more than 0.2% of the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, remain illegal.

With Thailand the only country in Asia to partially decriminalise marijuana, Thailand has a “secret weapon” to lure in tourists after the pandemic subsides, according to Secretary of the Public Health Commission Chatchai Trakulrungsi, who spoke at the conference.

Chatchai compared strains of Thai cannabis to “jasmine rice” in light of their uniqueness, which could be a big selling point on the global stage. He also claimed that nine out of 10 tourists want to try marijuana in some form or another (we have no idea where he got this information).

The event, which had the slogan “decriminalising marijuana builds health and creates income”, is part of Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul’s cannabis education tour (aka. Anutin’s Magical Mystery Tour).

Tourists, members of the public and businesspeople gathered together to listen to seminars by experts about how to legally plant, grow and look after marijuana plants at home. Other seminars included “building a cannabis business for the international economy” and “a community cannabis tourism development model”.

SOURCE: Siamrath

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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