Cannabis Legalisation in Thailand Has Begun With an Accidental Giant Leap

Thailand briefly became the world’s most progressive cannabis country

Alexander M. Combstrong
6 min readJun 17, 2022


Photo by Daniel Norin on Unsplash

Asia has some of the strictest cannabis laws in the world with some very harsh penalties. At the extreme end, in the Philippines, not so long ago thousands of people were being shot in the street in extrajudicial killings, even just for suspected use. The president himself had called for the killings.

In Malaysia in 2018, a man was sentenced to death for possession of cannabis oil. At the time, 900 others were on death row for drug offences. Luckily for them, the country abolished its death sentence just in time. Still, Asia is not a place to be involved with any illegal drugs, however harmless they may be.

Then, suddenly, a country in Asia briefly became the most liberal country in the world where cannabis is concerned — by having no laws around it at all. Its laws moved faster than anyone expected. Including the Thai lawmakers. It had happened by accident.

Cannabis confusion in Thailand

Thailand recently abolished its cannabis laws and completely decriminalised it. It was, for a few days, completely legal and cannabis stalls popped up quickly. This is a little hard to believe with the history of Asia’s drug stance, including Thailand’s, and international reports have consistently missed the mark, claiming that the country only allowed low potency strains, or that it is still just for medical use. Media giants including the BBC, Reuters and the Associated Press made the same mistakes.

The confusion came from the final related law — that food containing cannabis cannot contain more than 0.2% THC. But that was for food, not the leaf, and that was the only remaining restriction. There wasn’t even an age limit on it. It seems the rest of the world just couldn’t believe it.

Confusion also came from the Thai government’s messaging on the matter. Rather than concentrating on the legal changes, messaging had all been around why you shouldn’t do it anyway, and requests not to do it. But these requests were not law.

Information is still coming out internationally that you may land yourself in



Alexander M. Combstrong

Research-backed ways to change your life for the better. Out now: The Confident Introvert’s Handbook. Actor/screenwriter. Forge, Better Humans, Mind Cafe.

Recommended from Medium