Thailand’s Cannabis Industry In Danger 

Thailand’s cannabis industry has been on a rollercoaster ride since its legalisation in 2022, but the excitement may be over soon as impending regulations bring lots of uncertainties.

In 2018, Thailand made a significant move by legalising medicinal cannabis, followed by recreational use in 2022. 

Since then, numerous cannabis stores have emerged across the country, with the industry expected to reach a value of up to £1 billion by next year.


Highlighting the industry’s swift expansion, vast rice fields have been transformed into cannabis farms in certain regions. 

Despite its promising growth, the industry is already facing a potential crisis as Thailand’s new government plans to ban recreational cannabis use by the end of the year. 

However, the impending regulations threaten the livelihoods of many invested in the industry.

The proposed regulations aim to differentiate between recreational and medical cannabis use, with stringent controls. 

But there are concerns regarding the feasibility and implications of such measures, leaving many growers and sellers in a state of uncertainty.


While some producers express a willingness to adapt to the new laws, challenges loom large, including heavy government control and potential legal ambiguities in transportation and production.

The government’s U-turn on cannabis legislation follows concerns over increased recreational use among minors and perceptions of cannabis as harmful to society. 

Critics argue that hastily made partial regulations were implemented just a week after decriminalisation. 

Before last May’s general election, the previous government didn’t manage to pass legislation in parliament, leaving Thailand without a comprehensive law to regulate cannabis use.


Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew announced that the proposed bill will be presented to the cabinet for approval next month and then sent to parliament for passing before the year’s end. 

Cholnan emphasised the importance of having regulations in place to prevent the misuse of cannabis, especially for recreational purposes.

He emphasised the unfounded claim of cannabis as a “gateway drug”, stating that misuse can have adverse effects on Thai children and potentially pave the way for other drug problems in the future.

Cholnan also said that illegally operating cannabis shops will not be tolerated, and there will be efforts to discourage home cultivation of cannabis. 

He mentioned that there are currently around 20,000 legally registered shops.

Advocates stress the need to treat cannabis as an economic crop, advocating for reasonable regulations to ensure industry sustainability and investor support.

Final thoughts

Thailand’s cannabis industry is at a crossroads.

While it has experienced unprecedented growth over the two years since legalisation, expected regulatory challenges are putting it at risk. 

Could the Thai cannabis dream be over?

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