Cannabis NewsThailandTourism

Government panel now fears negative effect of cannabis on tourism

PHOTO: Will cannabis help or hurt tourism in Thailand? (via stock photo)

The decriminalisation of cannabis could actually severely damage tourism in Thailand, according to a House committee discussing the 2023 fiscal year budget bill. The committee spokesperson said that a meeting yesterday was discussing money allocation for the Ministry of Public Health when the debate topic turned to the effect of legalised cannabis on the budget.

Members of the committee fear that cannabis being legal in Thailand but still illegal in so many surrounding countries could negatively impact tourism, though the argument was vague, and seemed to centre around the idea of Thailand gaining a negative reputation regarding tourism for allowing the consumption of a narcotic within their borders.

From the details released, the discussion seemed to be more of an educational Q & A about cannabis than a legitimate financial concern. Questions were asked about how long cannabis remains in the body in a detectable way, with the Department of Medical Sciences teaching house members that it can be tested in blood within 12 hours and remain in urine for up to a week, though can be identified for up to 2 to 3 months for frequent users.

They also inquired about the progress relevant agencies have made regarding preventing children from consuming cannabis, especially in schools. The lack of regulation that came along with the decriminalisation was clearly a point of contention for many government officials.

While Thai policy can seem scattered at best, nowhere has it been more evident than the handling of the decriminalisation of cannabis in the country. Top government officials spent months lauding cannabis as the saviour of Thailand’s struggling economy and tourism industry, with stated goals of making it a cornerstone of medical tourism and a cash crop for growers around the country. But following its decriminalisation, backlash came swiftly.

People who didn’t approve of a Thailand shrouded in weed smoke immediately began pushing to restrict the sale and use of the plan. A slew of negative stories are being pushed out to the press shining light on injuries, crimes, and even death that had been attributed to the newly-legal narcotic. While the legalisation of cannabis seems to be widely popular, the pushback has also been severe.

The Thai parliament is yet to debate and pass any laws and amendments to the current that will guide the future of Thailand’s decriminalised cannabis crops.

The Food and Drug Administration argued that it has given approval to around 1,400 foods and drinks to use cannabis under strict lab research and controls, with appropriate labelling. Selling cannabis to anyone under 20 is banned, as well as smoking in public areas, where smokers can be fined as a public nuisance.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.