Thailand to ban recreational marijuana by end of 2024


Thailand, which decriminalized cannabis in 2022, is poised to reverse course and snuff out the recreational market by the end of the year.

Key points:

  • Draft legislation banning recreational cannabis use is already up for cabinet approval, aiming for full implementation by the end of 2024, reported Reuters.

  • Under the new measures, medical marijuana would remain legal.

  • Officials cite the need to protect youth from what they deem the negative impacts of cannabis.

Catch up:

  • Thailand became the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana in 2018 and the first in Asia to allow recreational use in 2022.

The details:

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  • The decriminalization fueled an economic boom in Thailand, with the cannabis sector projected to reach $1.2 billion in value next year. Cannabis-themed businesses, festivals and open cannabis use have become common in the country.

  • The draft law proposes fines of up to 60,000 baht ($1,670) for recreational use, while advertisement or marketing campaigns regarding such use could draw jail terms of up to a year or fines ranging as high as 100,000 baht ($2,780).

  • Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew emphasized the negative impact of recreational marijuana on Thai children. He noted that the proposed ban aims to regulate cannabis use more comprehensively after criticisms of hasty and fragmented regulations following its decriminalization.

  • Illegal cannabis shops will face closure, with the government discouraging home cultivation, while around 20,000 legally registered shops may be subject to tighter regulations.

What’s next:

  • The draft bill banning recreational cannabis is expected to undergo cabinet approval next month before heading to Parliament for passage before becoming law. Enforcement is slated before the year's end.

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