September 22, 2023

Bangkok Unmasked came across a fascinating article in Thai Rath today that hints of a possible radical shake up in the Thailand cannabis laws. The article’s title is; “ชงใช้พื้นที่ทหาร สกลนคร 5 พันไร่ กันไว้ปลูกกัญชาอ่านข่าวต่อได้ที่“.

According to the article, a huge plot of military land in Isaan is being examined for growing cannabis. The cannabis will be for medicinal use. The area being examined is a 5,000 rai plot in the Sakon Nakorn area of Thailand. For context, 5,000 rai is around 2,000 acres or 8 square kilometers. Needless to say this is a substantial space, and a lot of cannabis could be grown on it! The National Farmers Council appear to be the organization who would develop the site.

It seems that [according to Thai Rath] directives from the Thai Public Health Ministry issued on January 6th indicated that the Thailand cannabis laws might be about to change.

Thailand Cannabis Laws Right Now…

The Thailand cannabis laws are draconian when compared with many other countries. Any form of possession of cannabis is illegal in Thailand and can lead to severe penalties. In Thailand, the Narcotics Act, B.E. 2522 (1979) lists cannabis, also known by the name ganja, as a class-5 narcotic. Possession, cultivation, and transport (import/export) of up to 10 kg cannabis may result in a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and/or a fine. Possession, cultivation, and transport of more than 10 kg is punishable by 2–15 years in prison and/or a fine.

The scope for the government to unlock serious amounts of revenue from this project is immense. Back of the envelope math indicates that a 5,000 rai plot would likely be more than enough to supply the entire country’s cannabis requirements. [At least in the beginning].

From what Bangkok Unmasked has heard, it’s unlikely that cannabis will be sold over-the-counter in Thailand any time soon. If ever. Instead, compounds such as cannabidiol, or CBD, which is used in seizure medication and cancer treatment studies will be extracted from the cannabis. Cannabidiol, or CBD, does not get users high.

Of course no time frame has been given for the plantation to open.

It will be interesting to see how this issue proceeds.

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  • As suspected, the preliminary reaction to this news story has not been promising. According to The Nation; “Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has put a brake on an idea to build the first legal cannabis plantation in Thailand, saying more study is needed.” Interestingly, the Prime Minister claims to have not known about the proposed cannabis plantation.

    Disappointing news for many, we suspect.