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Consumer Insights Report

Cannabis Study
in Thailand

The study aims to understand the perspective of the local Thai population concerning the recent policy change regarding the legalization of the consumption and sale of cannabis in Thailand.

About The Report

In August 2022, Standard Insights surveyed over 200 respondents to learn more about the current legislation change on the legalization of cannabis in Thailand.

256

Respondents

6

Regions

2022

August

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Executive Summary

On June 9, 2022, Thailand officially became the first country in the Southeast Asian region to legalize the consumption and sale of Cannabis in the whole country. In perspective, Thailand is only the third in the world to do so (nationwide legalization), after Canada and Uruguay. This policy change is polarizing and an absolute turn considering the hardline stance that the Thai government had in the previous decades regarding Cannabis. In this context, Standard Insights conducted research on the perspective of locals on this policy change. Discover in this report our findings on this policy change.

Part 1

General Perception & Awareness

I. BACKGROUND

Having been a nation with some of the strictest drug policies in the world, Thailand has now legalized the cultivation, sale, and consumption of cannabis for medical use. The policy change overturns a strict policy of lengthy prison terms or even the death penalty for narcotics offenses. The change is meant to boost Thailand’s agriculture and tourism sectors.

However, the recreational use of marijuana, including smoking it in public, is still illegal and offenders could still risk facing jail time or a fine of up to 25,000 baht ($705.82). Legislation regarding its trade has yet to be drafted as well, making buying and selling it rather confusing. Therefore there are caveats to bear in mind if you are visiting the country or even are citizens of the country.

Thailand legalized medical cannabis in 2018, making it the first Asian country to legalize marijuana for medical and industrial use. According to Thai law, marijuana extract must contain less than 0.2% THC, which is typically a very minimal level of the psychoactive compound. In case foreigners seek this level or less for medical use while visiting the country, they can get a prescription at one of the accredited hotels or hospitals.

More updates were then released announcing to prohibit people under the age of 20, pregnant women, and breastfeeding mothers from possessing and using cannabis unless they have a doctor’s permission. However, a question was raised about how to protect those minors and vulnerable groups when cannabis was omnipresent in drinks, food, etc. just within a week after the legislation took effect, leading to difficulties in controlling the situation.

A recent study found that more than 30% of random samples of cannabis-based drinks exceed the legal THC limit, despite the government stressing that the THC content of cannabis-infused dishes must be less than 0.2% and should only be consumed for medical reasons. This results in concerns about law-abiding behaviors among businesses in the long run.

Besides, as Thai consumers are now becoming more health conscious after the outbreak, and their acknowledgment of the therapeutic and nutritional advantages of cannabis, hemp, and cannabidiol (CBD), the demand for these components in food and beverages may see a sharp rise, leading to more responsibilities to bear among pioneering businesses in educating their consumers about the benefits and dangers of cannabis for safer use. Especially, soon, more food and beverage manufacturers are expected to launch new products that highlight the flavor and therapeutic properties of cannabis.

As mentioned above, the use of cannabis for recreational purposes remains discouraged, and just because people are increasingly using it in an open and public way does not mean it is legal and allowed. In August 2022, however, Thailand’s Public Health Minister said that further legalization of cannabis for recreational use is possible in the future but for now, it is best for travelers to Thailand to keep their recreational marijuana usage on the down low, which is to say, do not do it in public.

According to the guidelines set out by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, “the importation of products containing cannabis and hemp extracts, and hemp-derived products, as well as any parts of cannabis and hemp, into Thailand is illegal”. Therefore, do not bring your cannabis to the country by all means to save yourself the trouble.

Part 2

Views & Perspectives

Part 3

Commercial Touchpoints

Part 4

Actual Consumption

The comments below were made by Thai respondents when they were asked to give us further comments/thoughts on the topic of the legalization of cannabis. We then used translating software to translate them into English for convenience.

Male

35-44

"If used, it should only be used for medical purposes and under doctors' advice."

"Marijuana should only be legal as a medical treatment."

Female

18-24

Female

35-44

"Provide accurate information to the public on the harm of marijuana on the brains of children and adolescents. To raise awareness that marijuana is addictive."

"There should be a clear explanation of why the general public should not overuse cannabis or should only use it in the medical field. and how much people can occupy."

Male

18-24

Male

18-24

"I think legalizing marijuana is a good thing, but it should be regulated for people under 20."

"I wish there were stricter controls and providing accurate knowledge to the public about the size of hooves consumed because there are many foods that add cannabis to them. Until sometimes exceeds the amount that should be received per day. And there's also no indication that it's flavored with cannabis causing the group of people who do not want cannabis to receive it inevitably and unknowingly."

Female

18-24

Female

18-24

"I think it would be much better if we used it in a more effective and beneficial way than using it in a way that risked addiction and harmed our health."

"We should make the best use of cannabis. It should not be used as an addictive substance."

Male

18-24

Female

18-24

"Cannabis has both advantages and disadvantages. If used in the right way, using medicines, and medical treatments are considered very useful. But if overdosing, as a result, the body will get affected severely."

Part 5

Main Takeaways

Part 6

Methodology

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