Video #39 | June 7, 2018
In this video I’m going to discuss Thailand marijuana laws. If you’re thinking about visiting Thailand. Scoring some weed. And then chilling in a hammock by the beach for a few days, think again!
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Welcome to the thirty-ninth video of Bangkok Unmasked! The YouTube channel that helps you get the most out of your visit to Bangkok city! If you’re new here, please consider subscribing! In this video I’m going to discuss Thailand marijuana laws.
Before I begin, a disclaimer. This VLOG post does not constitute legal advice, and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
Let’s get started!
Thailand marijuana laws. Everything you need to know!
If you’re thinking about visiting Thailand. Scoring some weed. And then chilling in a hammock by the beach for a few days, think again! Note. Despite what you saw in the movie ‘The Beach’, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, there’re not fields of cannabis plants growing throughout the Kingdom of Thailand! This is pure myth. Cannabis is certainly grown, but very much on the down-low. After living in Thailand for 19 years I have seen the sum total of 1 cannabis plant. (It was a seedling, or baby plant, and might not have even been female).
One other note. If you ask a Thai for marijuana, or cannabis, they probably won’t understand what you’re asking for. The drug is known as ganja. (Pronounced as ‘kan-ja’).
So what’s the legal status of marijuana in Thailand?
I’m afraid to tell you that the production, sale and possession of any form of marijuana is currently illegal in Thailand.
What are the implications of getting caught with cannabis in Thailand?
Cannabis is listed as a class-5 narcotic under the Narcotics Act, B.E. 2522 (1979). The penalties of being caught are as follows.
- From 2-15 years imprisonment and a fine of 200,000 – 1,500,000 Baht for production, importation or exportation.
- From 2-10 years imprisonment or a fine of 40,000 – 200,000 Baht or both for disposal or possession for the purpose of disposal. If the quantity is over 10 kilograms, the penalty is increased to a maximum of 15 years and a fine of 200,000 – 1,500,000 Baht.
- Imprisonment not exceeding 5 years and or a fine not exceeding 100,000 Baht or both for possession
- Imprisonment not exceeding 1 year and a fine of 100,000 – 1,000,000 Baht for consumption.
In a recent case which was covered on the Thai Visa forum an 18 year old British man was caught on one of the islands with just 2.9 grams of cannabis. He was fined THB2,500 in court and spent 3 days in the Immigration Detention Center. [Not a place you want to visit!] After paying the fine he was deported and blacklisted from Thailand for life.
From what I have heard anecdotally, people caught with weed have paid police anywhere from 2,000 Baht to 50,000 Baht to make the problems go away. Thailand being Thailand you never really know what will happen, and everything is on a case-by-case basis.
Some good news…
Thailand recently amended the drug laws to reduce penalties, and ensure more proportionate sentencing. The first amendments to the drug law were adopted and took effect on 16 January 2017. For the majority of people arrested with small quantities of cannabis a fine, rather than prison time, is generally imposed. With this said, you could still end up serving time in a cell while waiting for a court to grant bail. You probably also won’t be able to leave Thailand until the court case is concluded, which could take a while. Finally, there’re also serious immigration consequences for a marijuana arrest. In addition to being deported by immigration, there’s also a high probability of being ‘blacklisted’ from returning to the Kingdom.
Basically, I wouldn’t advise getting high in Thailand as it’ll really suck if you get caught!
What powers do drug enforcement officials have?
The short answer is a lot. ‘Competent officials’ i.e. almost certainly the police, have to following powers of stop, search and arrest.
- Enter and search any place or dwelling place, providing they have reasonable grounds to suspect that there is a person or persons who they reasonably suspect to be involved in the commission of offences relating to narcotics on the premises.
- Search any person or vehicle if there are reasonable grounds to suspect they are carrying or hiding illegal drugs.
- Enter and search premises without a warrant (having reasonable grounds for suspicion) and order a person or a group of people to undergo “on the spot” drug tests (under provisions of the fifth amendment of the Narcotics Act).
- Arrest any person involved in the commission of any offence related to illegal drugs.
- Seize any illegal drugs or any property being used or intending to be used in the commission of offences relating to narcotics or such that may be used in evidence.
Some potentially great news!
According to Khaosod, earlier this month a bill was approved by the interim cabinet to allow limited use of cannabis for medical purposes. The bill will decriminalize consumption of both marijuana and other Class 5 narcotics including hemp, kratom and opium to enable medical research to be conducted. This is the first [and small] step towards availability for therapeutic uses.
If written into law, it seems that the revised regulations might allow for cannabis to be sold legally over the counter with a doctor’s prescription. Unfortunately recreational cannabis use is not under consideration.
Anyway. that’s it for this video. Expect a new video next week.
For all you techies out there, this video was shot on a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, and edited using HitFilm Express.
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Finally, please don’t forget to subscribe to this channel through the button below! Also, I’d like to hear from you if you have any comments on Thailand marijuana laws. Maybe you have an experience of Thailand marijuana laws that you’d like to share! Please do reach out to me through the comments section of this video!
Thank you very much for watching. I’ll see you next week. Goodbye.