The short answer is that Thailand legalized the medicinal use of cannabis, including marijuana, in 2019. The longer is that it is complicated.
Unlike many other countries that legalized medical cannabis, Thailand still keeps tight control over the growth, processing, prescription, and distribution of cannabis.
Marijuana and THC are still considered to be Category 5 Narcotics in Thailand with possession carrying penalties of anywhere from 5 – 15 years.
For more information about the legal status of marijuana in Thailand, please see our complete Thailand legal marijuana guide.
Despite legalizing cannabis for medical purposes in 2019, Thailand still has some of the strictest drug laws in the world.
Marijuana is still considered a Category 5 controlled substance which carries a penalty of up to 5 years imprisonment for mere possession. The possession of over 10kg (22 pounds) can result in a prison term of up to 15 years.
You must go to a licensed clinic where a health provider, usually a doctor unless you see a Thai traditional medicine provider, who has received specialized training in cannabis treatment, will evaluate your medical condition to determine if cannabis is appropriate for your condition.
If the health professional determines that cannabis is an appropriate, they will provide you with a certificate that states that you are under the care of that physician and that they are prescribing cannabis.
Clinics are also dispensaries, so you will purchase your cannabis medication right there at the clinic. Some clinics offer refills via online services such as LINE.
Typically, certificates are good for only 30-days. To continue treatment, you must revisit the clinic.
Please note that currently the demand for cannabis medicines is much greater than the supply of cannabis available to produce the medicine. Many clinics, especially government-run clinics, will not see foreign patients for cannabis-related treatment (foreigners can receive other types of medical treatment at government-run clinics and hospitals).
At the moment, the two primary forms of medicinal cannabis are THC and CBD tinctures. The CBD is typically a 1:1 ratio CBD to THC formulation and the THC is just THC.
Flower is not available at this time.
At the moment, no. However, there is a bill before Thailand’s parliament which would allow foreigners to import and export CBD for personal medical use, if the foreigner has an appropriate prescription from either a Thai or foreign physician.
There are no laws in Thailand that distinguish between Thai and foreigner patients for medical marijuana.
That said, most government clinics where cannabis is available have waiting lines so long that they will not accept foreigners as patients.
As the law currently stands, Thailand has opted to forego traditional marijuana dispensaries.
Cannabis therapy is prescribed by a medical professional who has received specialized cannabis-medicine related training who can only prescribe cannabis at a clinic that has also applied to prescribe and distribute medical cannabis.
In other words, there is no separation between getting a medical marijuana card and a dispensary that sells the cannabis medicine. They are typically the same entity and are simply referred to as clinics.
Believe it or not, despite having some of the harshest drug laws in the world, marijuana has been an integral part of Thai traditional medicine for hundreds of years.
Prior to the Marijuana Act B.E. 2477 (1934) there were no laws prohibiting the cultivation or use of marijuana. Even with the Marijuana Act B.E. 2477, marijuana was still widely used in Thailand and enforcement was lax.
However, under mounting pressure from the US and other countries, the Thai government passed the Thailand Narcotics Act, B.E. 2522 (1979) which introduced much harsher penalties and enforcement.
History of Marijuana in Thailand
Marijuana became illegal in Thailand in two stages. The first stage was via the Marijuana Act B.E. 2477 (1934) which, for the first time in Thailand, prescribed criminal penalties for the cultivation, possession, or sale of marijuana.
However, the law often ignored and marijuana cultivation and use continued with limited government push back until the Thailand Narcotics Act, B.E. 2522 (1979) was passed which contained much harsher penalties for any type of possession.
History of Marijuana in Thailand
Decriminalization typically refers to ceasing to treat something as a crime. For instance, in places where marijuana has been decriminalized, one might receive a citation or ticket rather than being arrested.
Thailand has legalized marijuana for medical use but they continue to strictly enforce the law for illegal cultivation, possession, and trafficking.
While there are various proposals that have been submitted to the Thai parliament, currently, only entities that have applied for, and have received, permission from the Thai government can grow marijuana.
There are proposals to allow medical marijuana patients to grow their own cannabis and other proposals that would allow for farmers to apply for a license to grow marijuana, but as of this moment, growing marijuana has the same legal consequences as possession, which is 5 – 15 years in prison.
No. Thai law considers possession of marijuana without a medical marijuana certificate the same as they have always have. THC is a Category 5 narcotic with penalties ranging from 5 to 15 years for possession.