A senior Thai official has a clear message for tourists considering a cannabis-filled visit to the Southeast Asian country. please do not worry.
“We do not welcome such tourists,” Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters on Wednesday. As quoted by CNN.
Thailand is dealing with the impact of a new law passed in June, removing marijuana from its list of banned substances, making Thailand the first country in Asia to decriminalize cannabis. became the first country to legalize medical cannabis.
A new policy announced in June legalized the cultivation of marijuana and cannabis and opened the door for restaurants to serve food and beverages infused with small amounts of THC.
But the law is also shrouded in gray areas. Anutin and other Thai government officials said at the time that the policy should not be construed as outright legalization of weeds.
“No,” Anutin said in June. “There are still restrictions under the law governing the consumption, smoking, or use of cannabis products in non-productive ways.”
According to CNN, “People who smoke in public risk facing a prison term of three months or a fine of up to 25,000 baht ($705.82).”
“we [have always] We emphasized the use of cannabis extracts and raw materials for medical purposes and health,” continued Anutin. “There has never been a moment when we thought about using cannabis from a recreational point of view or advocating for people to use cannabis in ways that might irritate others. ”
Anutin also issued a warning to potential tourists in June.
“Thailand will promote its medicinal cannabis policy,” Anutin said. “If [tourists] There is no problem if it is for therapeutic purposes or health-related products, but if you hear that cannabis or marijuana is legal and want to go to Thailand… [or] Coming to Thailand to smoke joints freely, it’s wrong. Dont come. If you come to this country for that purpose, I will not welcome you.”
However, much to Anutin’s and the Thai government’s regret, recreational use of pot has picked up in the two months since the law was changed. Cannabis cafes pop up in capital Bangkok this summer.
Reuters report Earlier this month, it detailed how newly enacted cannabis laws “exploded recreational use.”[s]I tried to dissuade him. ”
The press highlighted one such cannabis cafe in Bangkok.
“Europeans, Japanese, Americans – they’re looking for Thai sativa,” said the cafe owner. Reuters“Cannabis and tourism go hand in hand.”
The new cannabis law has drawn opposition from other groups in Thailand.
Last month, more than 850 doctors in the country signed a petition demanding more restrictions and protections attached to the law.
“While cannabis was removed from the Department of Public Health’s drug list on June 9, no policy has been initiated to regulate the use of cannabis for personal recreation,” said a spokesperson for the group of doctors. said at the time. [legal] This direction makes cannabis more accessible to children and teenagers. ”
“The government and relevant departments should stop threatening people’s health as soon as possible,” the group said.
“The use of cannabis for medical purposes should be governed in the best interest and safety, as the government has insisted from the beginning,” the group said.