Thailand became the first Asian nation to legalise the cultivation of marijuana and its usage in food and beverages, with the goal of bolstering its agriculture and tourism sectors. However, smoking marijuana remains illegal.
Shoppers waited in line at stores selling cannabis-infused beverages, candies, and other products as champions of the plant celebrated the reform in a nation with a longstanding reputation for having stringent anti-drug policies.
Rittipong Dachkul, 24, stood at the front of the line at a Bangkok store since Wednesday evening to purchase his first legal marijuana.
“After leaving work, I rode a bus here,” Rittipong told Reuters.
“Now we can locate it readily, and we don’t have to worry about the source, but I have no idea about the quality,” he remarked, alluding to the strength of the available items.
In 2018, Thailand, which has a history of utilising cannabis to alleviate pain and exhaustion, legalised medical marijuana.
The government, anticipating the plant’s potential as a cash crop, intends to give away one million plants to encourage farmers to cultivate it.
Chokwan Kitty Chopaka, proprietor of a store that sells cannabis gum candies, stated, “After COVID and the economy’s decline, we truly need this.”
However, by regulating the potency of available goods, officials hope to prevent an increase in recreational use.
Possession and sale of cannabis extracts having more than 0.2% of its psychoactive element, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), are prohibited, making it difficult for smokers of the drug known as “pot,” “weed,” and a variety of other names to become “high.”
Suphamet Hetrakul, co-founder of the Teera Group, which cultivates cannabis for medical purposes, stated, “Buds with 0.2% THC are considered low, so you would need to ingest a lot to get high.” THC is contained in the flowers or buds of the cannabis plant.
Those who violate the law are still subject to jail time and fines.
Growers of cannabis are required to register on a government app called PlookGanja, or cultivate ganja, another name for the plant with spiked leaves. Paisan Dankhum, a health ministry official, reported that close to 100,000 people have registered for the app.
Suphamet expressed concern regarding the quality control of the numerous new growers.
Suphamet stated, “It will be difficult to manage the amount of THC and other impurities in their products, which might be detrimental for customers.”
The health ministry stated that it has licenced 1,181 goods containing cannabis extracts, including cosmetics and food, and it anticipates the industry could generate up to 15 billion baht ($435.16 million) by 2026.