Thailand bans recreational use of cannabis inside cafes

Cannabis shops and cafes in Thailand are no longer allowed to let customers smoke the plant recreationally on the premises anymore. On-site consumption of cannabis for medical purposes is still permitted if the cannabis is sold by a medical practitioner.

The announcement was made in the Royal Gazette yesterday and is effective immediately.

The announcement states that the Ministry of Public Health has declared the THC-rich cannabis flower as a “controlled herb” with restrictions. Two big changes come as big blows to the industry…

  1. Advertising the sale of cannabis flowers is prohibited
  2. Cannabis consumption inside shops/cafes is banned unless sold by a medical practitioner

Many of the control measures listed in the announcement are nothing new, e.g., cannabis cannot be sold to people under 20 years old, students, pregnant women, or women who are breastfeeding.

The announcement also said that cannabis flowers are not allowed to be sold online and cannot be sold in vending machines in Thailand.

“Controlled herbs” cannot be sold in temples, religious sites, dormitories, parks, zoos, and amusement parks.

Thailand’s liberal stance on cannabis has been met with resistance from several parties rallying for cannabis to be re-listed as a Category 5 illicit narcotic.

However, Health Minister and cannabis enthusiast Anutin Charnvirakul is confident that cannabis’s delisting as a narcotic on June 9 this year will not be reversed anytime soon.

“It’s not possible as long as I’m Minister of Health,” he said. He said the public should vote for the Bhumjaithai Party in the next election if they want cannabis to stay legal.

The new control measures detailed in the Royal Gazette are intended to be a compromise to keep everyone happy until the elusive Cannabis Act comes into law next year.

Anutin says strong opposition to cannabis comes from people who don’t understand the medicinal benefits of the magical plant.

Cannabis is also working wonders for Thailand’s economy…

“Millions of people have received good benefits from our cannabis policy in which they earn money and improve their health versus those who have a negative impact from cannabis. There are too many businesses, farmers, consumers, medical patients, doctors, and more relying on the plant for their health and their income.”

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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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