Cannabis Legalization in Thailand
Legalizing cannabis for medical purposes is expected to increase tourist arrivals to Thailand.
The use and study of medical cannabis in Thailand was authorized in December 2018. Some researchers and analysts foretold an increase in “medical” tourism, but so far this has not happened since the government has tight control over this area of activity.
At the moment, medicinal cannabis treatment in Thailand can only be carried out by public clinics and only for free, because research on the benefits and harms of cannabinoids on the body and human life is still ongoing.
Can Foreigners Bring Medical Marijuana to Thailand?
So far, foreigners can bring drugs containing medical marijuana only by prescription in the amount necessary for the duration of their stay in Thailand, but not more than 90 days. Legislators are now considering simplifying the import of medical cannabis by foreigners.
Thailand’s Plans on Further Cannabis Legalization
The cultivation and selection of cannabis are allowed only in strictly defined laboratories and farms. But after the end of the experiment, with a positive conclusion on the influence of cannabis on patients, the government plans to allow the private sector to cultivate marijuana, and the produce medications derived from it, as well as its export and import.
But there are also illegal clinics that use and sell medical cannabis. The government is struggling with them and their supply channels.
So far, Thailand’s budget hasn’t made a profit from the use of cannabis. But in the future, with its legalization, an increase in the number of tourists visiting clinics using cannabis to help patients with cancer, Parkinson's disease, chronic pain, and others is possible..
Analysts predict the development of the cannabis tourism industry in Thailand and the creation of a wide network of wellness centers applying CBD. A large profit is also expected from the production and export of cosmetic products and food products containing derivatives of cannabis.
Under the new rules, companies intending to import hemp or use it for medical purposes must be registered in Thailand, have an office in the country, and two-thirds of their shareholders and directors must be Thai citizens. This will help attract international investment in the development of the new tourism industry.
Thailand Can Try to Replicate American Success in Cannabis Legalization
In the United States, 6 years have been spent on the legalization of cannabis and there are already resorts there that use marijuana medicinally. Ingo Schweder, the founder of Goco Hospitality, whose resort in California uses cannabis, is sure that in Thailand in three to four years, depending on the liberalization of legislation, CBD tourism will gain worldwide popularity. Therefore, it will bring a multi-billion-dollar profit.
But the optimism of businessmen is not shared by everyone. Some Thai politicians do not rule out that the legalization of cannabis can affect the lifestyle of local residents, as the borderline between medical and recreational use of hemp is very blurred. With the regular use of these products, their productivity can drop and they may become indifferent to public life. So the contradiction between the forecasts of businessmen and sociologists exists and has not yet been resolved. The final decision on the legalization of medical cannabis will be made by the government.