Thailand officially legalized the growing of cannabis on Thursday. This is an unprecedented move for Asia, but in a very precedented move, has decided to keep cannabis use largely illegal.

The move to legalize the plant in Thailand is seen mostly as a move to push hemp production and medical use. However those that ingest high level THC may still be jailed.

Individuals caught in possession of selling or possessing cannabis with more than 0.2 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the stuff that gets you “high”) could be subject to fines and jail sentences. For reference, most cannabis grown in places like the US and Canada for recreational purposes contains roughly 30 times this amount of THC.

People caught smoking could also be fined up to 25,000 Thai baht (about US$725) and up to 3 months in prison. Punishment is not the only reason for skepticism of this “legalization” however.

To grow cannabis in Thailand you must also sign up for an app called PlookGanja (plook means grow in Thai, and yeah apparently they’re going with ganja instead of the alliteration PlookPot, but hey do you Thailand). Around 100,000 have already signed up for the software. Along with this app, growers must also attain government permits to grow cannabis.

This has created worries about monopolies or cartels forming due to high fees related to the purchasing of such documents.  Similar issues have been seen in some states in the US.

As many governments work hand in glove with rich oligarchs, this is certainly an understandable fear. However, the government has also announced plans to give away 1 million cannabis plants to promote the farming of the plant.

What the true future of cannabis growing and cannabis laws are is still quite up in the air for Thailand. However, most places that legalize quickly realize that it is a cash cow and steadily deregulate the plant. In any case, we will see what happens in the following months.


Photo by Jordan using DALL·E mini