Thailand getting high on cannabis boost to tourist economy

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha recently reported the government is expecting about 10 million tourists to hit the kingdom before the end of the year and it reports are true, most of them plan on getting high.

The Thai government removed cannabis and hemp plants from its banned narcotics list on June 9 leaving people in Thailand free to grow and sell it. But the government stated that the production and consumption of the drug are only permitted for medical use, not recreational use, and only of low-potency marijuana, containing less than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol of the hallucinogenic compound.

Thailand getting high on cannabis boost to tourist economy | News by Thaiger

The Thai government discourages the recreational use of cannabis and stated that anyone caught smoking cannabis in a public place could be charged under the “smell nuisance” Public Health Act and face a 25,000 baht fine and three months’ imprisonment.

But if you wander down to the beaches of Koh Samui the law seems rather more open to interpretation.

Carl Lamb, the owner of Chi, a luxury beach club in Koh Samui’s Bang Rak, sells ready-rolled cannabis joints alongside champagne, French wines, and a CBD-infused menu.

Lamb made it known that he originally tried marijuana medicinally because he had digestive issues. Then, inspired by the decriminalisation of the drug in June, worked with a university in Chiang Mai to grow medicinal cannabis for the CBD-infused menu Chi serves: CBD berry lemonade, Hempus Maxiumus cocktails, CBD Pad Kra Pow, and took advantage of some grey areas to sell joints.

Lamb has a large black cigar box stocked with different strains of cannabis, ranging from 500 baht a gram for BlueBerry Haze to 1,000 baht a gram for Lemonade.

“At first, I just did it as a bit of a buzz and had a few grams in the box. But now we get people buying it from 10am until we close.

“It’s been really eye-opening the range of people wanting to try it.”

Thailand getting high on cannabis boost to tourist economy | News by Thaiger

The bar owner revealed a number of different people have been curious to try it, whether it is the parents of kids playing in the pool, rich individuals wanting ready-rolled joints to take away, or tourists buying it as soon as they arrive.

Lamb believes he isn’t doing anything wrong. As he understands, the law only prohibits him from selling to under 25s or pregnant women and if anyone complains about the smell, he has to stop it.

“We’ve started getting phone calls from all over the world asking, ‘Is it really true you can smoke cannabis in Thailand and it’s legal?’ We already know it’s attracting more tourists – people are booking for Christmas.

“The impact of Covid on the island has been devastating but the decriminalisation of cannabis is, without a shadow of a doubt, having a huge positive impact. You can now come here and lie on a beach at Christmas and smoke weed. Who’s not coming?”

At a hotel in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, a customer called Nina said the hotel was selling cannabis at the reception.

“I smoke it anyway. I wouldn’t really notice if it was legal or not.”

A cannabis seller dealing illegally outside Nina’s hotel said nobody understands the drug laws. He works with hotel concierges to organise deliveries for farangs or foreigners.

“It’s a big mess. Even the police don’t understand it.

“I take care for the moment because the law is not clear. They [tourists] don’t know anything about the laws. They don’t know they cannot smoke in public. Although it’s very dangerous to smoke in public.”

What happens next is anyone’s guess but it is clear that cannabis is playing its part in Thailand’s economic recovery and it looks as if everyone is getting high off that.

SOURCE: Guardian

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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