As of last Thursday, Thailand has become the first country in Asia to decriminalize cannabis, seeking a new market for hemp-infused food and marijuana medical treatments. The consumption, possession, cultivation, and sales of the plant has been made legal, and both the government and 420 enthusiasts hope that the move will boost the country’s tourism and agricultural sectors. Despite the happy news, however, lawmakers are concerned with public, recreational use of cannabis, driving or operating machinery under the influence, age of users, and "high" levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Though no restrictions are officially in place yet for any of these concerns.
Nevertheless, growers—individuals or companies—can now register themselves on the Thai FDA’s designated platforms, all of which were reported to be malfunctioning due to user influx. The Nation reports that the channels were visited by 32 million users in the span of two days, though at time of writing only about 600,000 have been able to successfully register so far.
Over 3,000 prisoners indicted strictly on cannabis-related charges have also been released as a result of the law changes. Thailand’s health ministry also plans to distribute approximately a million plants for free to households.
The main impetus for the easing of restrictions is an economic one as the laws have the potential to help the agricultural sector as well as attract international tourism. As cannabis-related events, businesses, and tours have been popping up since D-day (decriminalization day), the community is already eyeing more ways to embrace the new market.