mary Jane

Thai Cannabis Laws

mary jane bangkok
Inside Mary Jane cannabis store in Bangkok’s Nana area

Did you know that back in the 1970s, it was common to see someone rolling and smoking a joint of Thai weed at Pratunam Market in Bangkok? Oh, how the times changed when America and its phony war on drugs forcibly interjected themselves into local laws across many countries. 

For sure, the current rules and grey areas might be confusing, but they’re still better than what they were for the past 40 years. And it’s definitely better than going to prison or getting extorted by the Thai police for having a joint in your pocket. But if you are still unsure about the Thailand ganja laws, it’s about time you took a crash course to find out what it’s all about.

Can I legally smoke joints in Thailand?

You are not going to like this, but no, you cannot simply crack out a joint and start smoking it in public anywhere in the Kingdom, not even in a fully-licensed Thai weed shop or Bangkok cannabis dispensary. It’s not as simple as that, I am afraid. Smoking cannabis in Bangkok is not legal, and fines or even prison time might still be on the cards in that regard. Although, at the moment, the laws and punishments are still confusing.

The best we can do is tell you that cannabis is legal for medicinal purposes, legal to possess, legal to buy and grow, and legal to sell (with a license), but not legal to smoke in a public place. No one is going to hassle you if you smoke the said joint in the comfort of your own home. Basically, you won’t be in trouble if you are stopped by the Thai police and you have some weed or even a joint in your possession. It’s essentially decriminalized, so let’s take a look at the exact wording of these Thai cannabis laws so we can be clear about what we can and cannot do.

Thai Cannabis Law Changes in 2022

The old cannabis laws in Thailand made it prohibited to produce, buy, grow, sell, store, transport, or consume all manner of narcotic substances, cannabis included. The substances on their banned list were split into five categories, with cannabis being in category 5, which was the least serious at the time. But fortunately for Thai ganja heads, the laws for cannabis have now changed.

The new Thai cannabis laws, more formally called the “Notification B.E. 2565” enactment, have now decriminalized cannabis across the country, and it’s about time too! These new laws originally came into place on February 9, 2022, and then became completely effective 120 days later, on June 9, 2022, much to the rejoicing of stoners across Thailand. From that point on, all parts of a cannabis plant, which include the leaves, stems, stalks, roots, buds, and seeds, were finally taken off the category 5 narcotics list and were no longer seen as drugs per se.

However, there are some rules barring the production and sale of cannabis extracts at this point, although it all seems a bit sketchy at the moment of writing (December 2022). So in effect, cannabis extracts are still illegal, and these are the rules pertaining to extracts below:

  • Contain no more than 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); and
  • Come from the seeds and are cultivated in Thailand; or
  • Are categorized as medical devices under medical equipment law and used only for specific purposes.
  • Moreover, the recreational use of the plant and smoking in public remain illegal, and these offenses can lead to fines of up to 25,000 baht and prison terms of up to 3 months.

It’s believed that cannabis extracts like dabs, wax, and oils will be legal to consume in the future, but the manufacturing will be closely regulated and monitored. The rumor is that major corporations across Thailand are waiting in the wings to monopolize that part of the industry going forward, but we will have to see what happens.

The Dark Days of Thai Cannabis Prohibition

Cannabis was originally banned in Thailand in 1935, but like most minor Thai laws, it was generally ignored, like the smoking bans in bars are today. Only in 1979, when the Narcotics Act 2533 was enabled, was cannabis prohibition in Thailand taken seriously. From then on it was a nightmare scenario for stoners and growers that were basically treated like arch criminals for producing and consuming beneficial herbs.

The strong-armed American war on drugs massively damaged Thailand’s relationship with cannabis in a recreational and medical sense. The irony is that over the past 10 years, we have seen a massive increase in the decriminalization and legalization of weed across North America. It’s now legalized or at least decriminalized in Colorado, California, Washington, DC, Alaska, and many more. In fact, it’s been legalized in 21 states across America and a number of other U.S. territories.

Have laws for Thai cannabis smokers really changed that much?

It might not be legal to smoke ganja in public in Thailand, but the new Thai cannabis laws and decriminalization have taken the power away from the police to extort money from low-level recreational users or give them obscene prison sentences for simply smoking a spliff. So although the laws are not perfect, they are much better than before, and at least we are moving in the right direction.

One can only hope that the Thai government sees the financial gains of total cannabis legalization and makes Thailand one of the best cannabis holiday destinations in the world. But anyone who lives here knows that things are never that straightforward, so it might be some time before we see that happen.

But in the meantime, you can come and visit our Wonderland Bangkok cannabis dispensary to stock up on the best Thai ganja buds in the city. But obviously, you won’t be able to smoke it on the premises, but you will be able to buy it and possess it legally.