Will Thailand Legalize Cannabis for Recreational Use?

Thailand weed

Although cannabis grows very well in many Asian countries, very few are known for their acceptance of marijuana products, whether it’s for recreational or medicinal purposes. In countries like Thailand, if a person is caught by authorities in possession of an illegal substance, they could face extremely harsh penalties. If a person gets caught with a small amount of cannabis they could face a lengthy stint behind bars. However, things seem to be taking an unexpected turn in recent years. 

In 2018 the Thai government voted to legalize weed for medicinal purposes. Thailand is one of the first Asian countries to legalize cannabis for medicinal use, and their government is also planning to export weed all over the world in the near future. However, weed is still classed as a  category five controlled substance, and if you were to get caught with less than 10kg you could face up to five years inside a Thai prison. If you have more than 10kg in your possession you could go to jail for fifteen years or more! So, what has changed in Thailand since 2018? 

Who can Prescribe Medical Marijuana in Thailand? 

The recent changes now permits people to cultivate, prescribe, sell, and possess marijuana and marijuana based products if the person has a prescription which has been given to them by a medical professional. Not all medical professionals can prescribe the weed, only authorized ones. 

People can’t just make an appointment with their local GP and expect to leave with a medical marijuana card as they might do in certain states in America. The medical professionals or doctors that can prescribe cannabis to patients will have had to go through special training on how marjiauna can be used to treat certain illnesses. The Thai government, unlike a lot of Western countries, is taking a cautious approach. They don’t want the substance falling into the hands of people who don’t need the product. Anyone who can legally prescribe the substance will have gone through a course and will have had a certification issued to them by the Ministry of Public Health. 

Can Foreigners Purchase Medical Marijuana in Thailand?

Before you start looking for your passport and booking a flight online, keep in mind that purchasing medical marijuana in Thailand is not that easy. Although there doesn’t seem to be any restrictions put in place that suggests foreigners cannot legally consume or possess medical cannabis, there are very few foreigners that have been prescribed the substance. There are no physical dispensaries in Thailand and you can’t purchase the substance like you can buy weed online in Canada. Thailand will only prescribe medicinal marijuana to those who are suffering from an illness that responds well to cannabis treatment such as:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Chronic Pain
  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinsons

Technically, foreigners entering Thailand are permitted to bring a three-month supply of medical weed into the country as long as they have a valid prescription. The prescription has to be issued by a health professional based in the country where the foreigner resides. They must also have a certificate issued by their doctor explaining what the patient’s condition is. Before arriving in Thailand, they must also apply for approval by the Thai FDA. 

However, it is still not clear how the whole process will work. With harsh penalties put in place for those caught bringing illegal substances into the country, most legal professionals advise foreigners to leave their medical marijuana at home until the law has been made clearer. 

What about Recreational Use?

Currently, Thai citizens and foreigners cannot legally purchase, grow or possess marijuana. Although there are a lot of people selling weed on the black market in Thailand, It is still classed as a serious offense. Many foreigners have been imprisoned in Thailand for buying weed illegally, and they often have to spend many years in the Thai prison system. The conditions of these jails are well known around the world and foreigners and locals worry about ending up in them if they get caught using cannabis. Even after a lengthy jail sentence, tourists are expected to pay a lot of money before they get released. 

Will Cannabis be Legalized in Thailand in the Future?

Just like most other countries, there are a lot of marijuana advocates hoping that the authorities will change their current stance on the substance. Tourism generates a lot of money and creates a lot of jobs in Thailand each year, however, since the outbreak of Covid-19 the country has found itself in financial difficulty. They have struggled to reopen their borders to foreigners and it has forced the country to go into a recession. With many jobs on the line and tourism difficult to predict during these unprecedented times, many think that legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes could help lure new tourists to the country and help generate some much-needed cash. 

Once Thailand gets a hold of the deadly virus, a lot of people are expecting to move to the beautiful country. During the pandemic, a lot of folks now work remotely, so it is expected that a lot of them will move to countries like Thailand long term. With incredible beaches, amazing weather and interesting culture, it’s no wonder so many people are planning a big move to the “Land of Smiles”, however, a lot of people are put off by Thailand’s strict cannabis laws. Many feel if authorities relaxed their laws that the country would become a very popular destination, even for foreigners who are looking to move somewhere else long term. 

What Kind of Cannabis Grows in Thailand?

With growing equipment readily available online, you can grow almost any weed in Thailand, however, due to the hot weather conditions, Sativa plants grow naturally outdoors. The climate is perfect to grow tall Sativa plants. In the past, farmers and fishermen were known to consume the substance while they worked. Others like to add buds from the plant and the leaves from the plant into food such as soup. 

Sativa plants, unlike most Indica plants, often grow very tall and narrow. This is why many people struggle to grow Sativa plants indoors, as they don’t have a room tall enough to allow the plants to grow. Sativa weed is good for the following:

  • Stimulates creativity
  • Energizing: Although many people assume cannabis will make you tired, Sativa can do the opposite. People normally consume Sativa during the day because it can keep them up at night time. 
  • Relieves depression: Those suffering from depression often use weed to help.
  • Reduces nausea
  • Migraine relief

Most buds produced by Sativa plants seem to be a lot lighter than buds produced from an Indica plant. It can take ninety days for the plant to fully grow. During the dry season in Thailand, Sativa plants grow really well, however, they avoid growing weed during the rainy season which starts in May and finishes in October. During the rainy season, the country experiences strong winds and heavy storms, and because most Sativa plants are weak they are often unable to survive these conditions. 


Weed produced in Thailand was very popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s in countries all around the globe. Weed known as “Thai Stick” was one of the most popular buds on the market. Although the weed didn’t get people really high like the potent cannabis for sale in the Niagara Falls cannabis dispensary, it didn’t stop the marijuana from being extremely popular on the black market. 

It is hard to tell whether or not the Thai authorities will legalize cannabis for recreational use in the near future, but most people think it is a possibility.

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