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.