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Smoking marijuana in Thailand

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Joanna Horanin

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Last updated at 20/05/2024, 17:45

Hi, I'm Joanna, the author of The Blond Travels. In the worlds of Thailand and Portugal, I feel like a fish in water - and it's no coincidence! I've been exploring Thailand for over a decade, and I've settled in Portugal for 6 years now. My mission is to support Dreamers - just like you - in discovering these fascinating countries and helping those in love with them find their own place on Earth, preferably for good! Let's uncover these unique corners of the world together.

From 2022, Thailand has not only been associated with palm trees, beaches and exotic culture, but also with the distinctive green leaf that almost everyone knows. That’s the year marijuana was legalized in Thailand, and from that moment on, those who are experts on the subject, as well as those who have never tried it, began to flock to the Land of Smiles. I, too, have had some experiences, which you will find in this post. You’ll also learn the rules to follow if you want to smoke in Thailand and don’t want to get in trouble with the law.

Before we start, I want to point out that as a person aware of the dangers of stimulants, I am not urging you to smoke. I myself have happened to try this and that, and I know that these things are not for me.
On the other hand, I am all for the full legalization of marijuana, and I believe that access to it should be controlled, but facilitated.

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    Legalization of marijuana in Thailand

    Before 2022, only prescription medical marijuana was legal. Everything else was severely punished.

    Simply being caught with a joint, for example, was enough to be expelled from the country. There were also harsher punishments that ended in a shorter or longer jail term.

    Today, smoking and selling marijuana in Thailand is legal with some restrictions.

    It can be sold and consumed if the THC content by weight does not exceed 0.2%. Above that, ganja is categorized as a narcotic.
    Cultivation has no restrictions on THC content.

    Marijuana cannot be sold to people under the age of 20, pregnant and nursing women.

    Important information for those who want to smoke – smoking marijuana in Thailand is illegal in public places. You should only do it in bars that have a permit for it or simply at home or somewhere where you will not be exposed to the public.

    A policeman taking photo of a marijuana plant in Thailand.
    A policeman taking a photo of a marijuana plant at a market in Samoeng.

    The legalization of marijuana in Thailand was certainly a step in the right direction for the country. It is an added boost to the economy. You can see stores on Thai streets selling the ‘green product’ and smoking accessories. Marijuana is sold by bars, restaurants, hostels and other such places.
    Of course, Western tourists benefit from legalization, but tourists coming to Thailand for consumption are mainly Chinese, Japanese and Koreans.

    After legalization, the crime and accident rate has not increased at all.

    My experience

    Personally, I am not fond of marijuana. I happened to smoke before and the effect rarely appealed to me. I’m sure it is because I just can’t relax and surrender to how the herb works or it’s totally not my thing.

    When I lived in Thailand, I was afraid of any drugs because of the consequences. Asian countries are famous for severely punishing anyone who possesses drugs.

    An unpleasant situation happened to a friend of mine, for example. She was stopped by police in Pai, in the north, while riding a scooter. As a U.S. citizen who had just arrived in Thailand, she started arguing with the policeman, who tried to extort a bribe. The man, in turn, stated that if she did argue, he would search her backpack, which he did. Unfortunately, he found an unsmoked joint there.
    The friend was taken into custody for a long couple of days, where she was kept in the cold, without a bed or cleaning supplies. When she was released, she was informed that for the next few months she was to stay in Chiang Mai and appear in court every two weeks. After a long wait, the sentence to expel her from the country was passed…And that was because of a small joint!

    Also, as you can see, I wasn’t too keen on smoking marijuana in Thailand.

    A marijuana tree in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    This ‘incubator’ is set up on the main street in Chiang Mai.

    There was a time in my life when I had a trusted source in Chiang Mai and smoked from time to time. The ganja was weak enough to give me a light mood and nothing more.

    I also had one adventure where, for 2,000 BHT, a tuk-tuk driver sold me and Pyś some tea in a plastic bag, which proves how much I know about marijuana!

    After its legalization, I decided to try it and see if the ganja sold in Thailand was actually worth spending money on.

    I bought my first joint in a small bar in Chiang Mai. A box of already rolled joints was laid out in front of me. The choice was large, and I have zero knowledge of the subject. So I asked which one the saleswoman would recommend to someone who doesn’t actually smoke. She took a moment to think about it and picked one out of the box for me. I paid about 200 BHT.

    We smoked the joint in half with Pyś. The high after it was actually good, but too heavy for me. I couldn’t sleep afterwards, there were too many thoughts swirling around in my head. Again I thought to myself, ..well no…This is not for me.

    Pyś tried a few more times. The last time was on Koh Phangan, where he bought a joint from a gentleman, looking like Bob Marley’s son, who used a cleaver to cut weed and roll joints (without the cleaver, of course). We sat on the balcony by our room, Pyś was smoking, I was just chilling. After a while, Pyś said he was really high that it was his last joint on this trip.

    And those, my friend, were my only experiences with marijuana in Thailand.

    Buying marijuana

    Some of you have more experience with smoking and I’m sure your impressions will be quite different.

    Besides, you definitely know how to buy something that will be good and do the job.

    For others, I have some advice:

    It’s worth buying in larger places or where there is actually a selection for you. Talk to the seller so they can advise you. If they have no idea what they are selling, go somewhere else.

    Don’t buy from anyone who walks around parties and sells what’s in their pocket. Cannabis is legal in Thailand, so take advantage of that and go to a regular store.

    A marijuana plant in the local market in Thailand.
    At some places you can buy seeds or a little tree to plant at home.

    A joint should cost between 100 and 300 BHT, depending on the place and the stall in question, not likely more (2023 price).

    And this is my last piece of advice: if you’ve never smoked before or don’t know how you’ll react, I recommend smoking in the company of someone who is sober. I’ve heard some stories of sudden fear and paranoia after smoking. It is good if there is a person with you who will keep an eye on you.

    And that would be it, my lovely Dreamer. I hope this post was useful to you and gave you an idea of what marijuana sales and consumption are like in Thailand.

    Remember, as with all stimulants, use sensibly, don’t drive after smoking and always be careful.

    Do you have any questions or would like to share something with me? Leave a comment!