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Cannabis in Thailand

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In Thailand, cannabis, known by the name ganja (Thai: กัญชาRTGSkancha) is decriminalized in 2022. Medical use has been made legal since 2018.[1] Since 2022, cannabis plant is fully removed from narcotic list. Possession, cultivation, distribution, consumption, and sales of cannabis plant parts are legal, especially for personal use. However, license and permission may be required in some circumstances. Import and export of cannabis are still highly regulated. Recreational use of cannabis products is discouraged but legal if the THC content is below 0.2% by weight. However, there is no restriction on THC for the consumption of cannabis plant parts.Not according to the government (The government said it is still illegal to grow, possess and consume cannabis products containing more than 0.2 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary compound that makes people high. Cannabis smoking is legal for private use but prohibited in public area.[2][3]

Cannabis appears to have been introduced to Thailand from India, with the similarity of the Thai name to the Indian term ganja cited as evidence.[4] Cannabis has historically been used in Southeast Asia as an ingredient, a kitchen condiment, a medicine, and a source of fiber.[5] Laborers were known to use it as a muscle relaxer. It was reportedly used to ease women's labor pains.[6]

On 8 May 2022, Thailand's health minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced in a Facebook post that the government will distribute one million free cannabis plants to households across the country, starting June 9. The move is said to be a step further into Thailand's plan to use cannabis as a cash crop.[7][8]

Legalization and decriminalization[edit]

The possession, cultivation, sales, and use of cannabis were criminalized by the Cannabis Act 2477 BE (1935)[9] and again by the Narcotics Act 2522 BE (1979).[10] In 2018, Thailand became the first Asian nation to legalize medical cannabis.[11][12] Cannabis clinic was available as early as April 2022.[13] Starting from June 9, 2022, all cannabis plant parts was entirely removed from the narcotic list decriminalizing all cannabis-related crime.[2] Around 4,200 prisoners were released as a result of the decriminalization on the same day.[14]



There is no restriction on the consumption of cannabis plant parts. Not true according to the government. The government said it is still illegal to grow, possess and consume cannabis products containing more than 0.2 percent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary compound that makes people high. However, cannabis extracts with THC higher than 0.2% and cannabis seed extracts are still on the narcotic list. Consumption of these extracts is only reserved for medical use under prescription.[2][3] Cannabis smoking is legal for personal use in private area but not encouraged by the government and is prohibited in public areas by the Public Health Act 2535 BE (1992) with the fine up to 25,000 Baht (~700 USD) or the imprisonment up to 3 months.[14]


Households will be able to cultivate up to six cannabis pot plants at home if they register with authorities, and companies can also farm the plant with a permit. The specific law regulating cannabis is still pending in Thai parliament as of June 2022. However, the government urges people to register their cannabis plantation on the website or the application "Plookganja" (meaning "Let's grow cannabis") in case that the future cannabis law may require the license.[15]


Thai law essentially excludes all foreign companies as well as foreign majority companies incorporated in Thailand from producing, selling, importing, exporting, and processing cannabis. The move has been viewed as an effort to protect local companies from the onslaught of highly resourceful and modern technology equipped foreign actors.[16]


On 11 May, Thailand's first two full-time clinics dispensing cannabis oil for medical treatment were inaugurated. The move is in line with the government's intentions to promote licensed use of medical marijuana to address various health conditions. These two clinics are an addition to 25 part-time clinics that are operating since the legalization of the drug under the new legislation.[17] If this experience produces promising results, the government is all set to open two more clinics as a part of a planned nationwide network of marijuana clinics. [18] The people who were using illegal expensive medical marijuana from underground suppliers are most likely to benefit from it. In addition, the FDA has approved all hospitals of the Public Health Ministry to prescribe medical cannabis to people with approved medical conditions.[19][20]


  1. ^ "Thailand approves medicinal cannabis"BBC News. 25 December 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  2. Jump up to:a b c "Notifications of the Ministry of Health Re : Specifying the Category V Narcotic Substance 2565 BE (2022 AD)" (PDF). Royal Thai Government Gazette. 8 February 2022.
  3. Jump up to:a b "Act Promulgating the Narcotic Code 2564 BE (2021 AD)" (PDF). Royal Thai Government Gazette. 7 November 2021.
  4. ^ Martin, Marie Alexandrine (January 1975). "Ethnobotanical Aspects of Cannabis in Southeast Asia". In Rubin, Vera (ed.). Cannabis and Culture. Mouton Publishers. pp. 63–76. ISBN 9027976694. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  5. ^ Blair, Eric (11 July 2001). "History of Marijuana Use and Anti-Marijuana Laws in Thailand"Thailand Law Forum. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  6. ^ Kapoor, Kanupriya; Thepgumpanat, Panarat (12 December 2018). "Weeding out foreigners: strains over Thailand's legalization of marijuana"Reuters. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Thailand to give away one million free cannabis plants to households, minister says"KMIZ. 11 May 2022. Retrieved 11 May 2022.
  8. ^ "Explained: Why Thailand will distribute 1 million cannabis plants to households"The Indian Express. 12 May 2022 – via Yahoo! News.
  9. ^ "พระราชบัญญัติกันชา พุทธศักราช ๒๔๗๗" (PDF)Royal Thai Government Gazette52: 339–343. 5 May 1935. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Criminal Drug Offences in Thailand"Siam Legal. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  11. ^ "Thailand approves medical marijuana in New Year's 'gift'"Nikkei Asia.
  12. ^ "Thailand's Unlikely Embrace of Cannabis"Bloomberg.com. 18 July 2019 – via www.bloomberg.com.
  13. ^ Cannabis US company opens medical marijuana clinic in Thailand
  14. Jump up to:a b "ปลดล็อกกัญชา 9 มิ.ย.นี้ ทำอะไรได้แค่ไหน สายเขียวปุ๊นในที่สาธารณะได้หรือไม่". ไทยรัฐ. 12 June 2022.
  15. ^ "Plookganja.fda.moph.go.th". Food and Drug Administration of Thailand.
  16. ^ Thepgumpanat, Kanupriya Kapoor, Panarat (12 December 2018). "Weeding out foreigners: strains over Thailand's legalization of marijuana"Reuters – via www.reuters.com.
  17. ^ "Inside Thailand's free cannabis clinic"France 24. 6 January 2020.
  18. ^ Setboonsarng, Chayut (6 January 2020). "Thailand rolls out cannabis clinic based on traditional medicine"Reuters – via www.reuters.com.
  19. ^ Somerset, Sara Brittany. "Thai Cannabis Clinic Sees Thousands Of Patients In Its First Week"Forbes.
  20. ^ Can medical cannabis in Thailand balance profits and patients?