Russia-Ukraine: Two years of war
READ NOW
Scroll to the top

Pot politics: Thai government aims to overturn cannabis legalization

Thailand, Bangkok, 2024/01/17. A tuktuk drives past a cannabis dispensary in the Nana district.

Thailand, Bangkok, 2024/01/17. A tuktuk drives past a cannabis dispensary in the Nana district.

Valeria Mongelli / Hans Lucas via Reuters Connect

Passing the ganja in Thailand may soon be illegal – again. On Tuesday, Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew said the government plans to seek Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s approval next week for a draft bill to ban the use of recreational cannabis.


Historical high hopes. Thailand had some of the harshest anti-drug laws in the world. Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirankul (the former health minister), of the Bhumjaithai Party, campaigned on decriminalizing marijuana to reduce prison overcrowding and ease poverty. The result? Cannabis was legalized in June 2022, making Thailand the first Asian country to do so.

Conservative potshots. Srettha made limiting marijuana use for medicinal purposes a focal point during last year’s elections, and last month, Cholnan said using recreational cannabis “for fun is wrong.”

Youthful dreams up in smoke. Anutin’s pitch of decriminalizing the plant made the BJT Party stand out from its counterparts, especially among young voters. But the fast-aging population (18% are senior citizens) is on edge – and the country’s conservative coalition government came to power promising to reverse the liberalization. Offenders will face fines or prison terms of up to a year.

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO's daily newsletter