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Thailand’s Weed Cafes Must Provide Odor Free Environments

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Thailand's Weed Cafes Must Provide Odor Free Environments

Weed sellers on Khao San Road will be told that they must operate their smoking establishments to keep the local environment free of the pungent odour of marijuana. Visitors can buy weed and smoke it at the newly built Plantopia zone.

The Department of Thai Traditional and Complementary Medicine insisted that licensed cannabis sellers could distribute cannabis buds but could not have cannabis-smoking or eating areas in their stores.

Sanga Ruangwattanakul, president of the Khao San Business Association, stated on Monday that local entrepreneurs had already prepared Plantopia, a separate zone for selling all types of weed and weed smoking.

“We are following the Public Health Ministry’s cannabis announcement, which prohibits smoking in our stores. As a result, we have prepared a cigar bar in Plantopia, which is a restricted area away from public areas. At the bar, we offer cleaning services and an air-ventilation system, “Mr. Sanga stated.

He added that he wished to see more support for recreational cannabis use but agreed that there should be designated zones.

When asked to explain the Plantopia concept, Mr. Sa-nga stated that it is a marketplace for cannabis-based products such as cannabis bud extracted oils, cannabis massage oils, seasonings, and other items.

He emphasized the importance of weed sellers documenting their buyers’ purchase history and recording the acquisition of their products.

Mr. Sanga also stated that while there are approximately 15 licensed cannabis sellers on Khao San Road, there are many more hawkers who sell in public without a license.

Many people are concerned that cannabis will cause negative reactions in addicts; however, Mr. Sanga believes that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) provides pleasure and relief rather than anxiety and paranoia.

Weed shops and Cafes Blossoming

Marijuana-related businesses are already altering the cityscapes. Neon-lit signs with marijuana leaves are common from Bangkok to northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai, and the drug is infiltrating everything from food to drinks and cosmetics, aided by the promise of weed tourism revenue.

Despite weeds rapid growth, Thailand’s cannabis industry is on a political precipice. Businesses are currently operating in a grey legal area due to a regulatory vacuum caused by the decriminalization of the drug before legislators could agree on how to regulate cannabis.

Societal concerns about the impact of cannabis legalization also threaten to derail an industry worth more than $US1 billion ($1.4 billion) by 2025.
A customer examines marijuana smoking paraphernalia at the Highland Cafe in Bangkok, Thailand.

“It’s all about politics now.” “The government has come this far, but the coalition parties now want to reverse course,” according to Mr. Rattapon Sanrak, founder of a cannabis advocacy group that operates Highland Cafe, a weed dispensary in Bangkok’s Lat Phrao neighborhood. “Criminalizing it again would simply push everything underground, and merchants who want to do it right would be unable to do so.”

As early as next week, MPs in the house are expected to resume debate on a draft cannabis bill designed to give the Thai government more control over the industry. The bill stalled after several legislators voted in September to withdraw it from debate, claiming it did not go far enough to prohibit recreational use.

weed cafes

Uphill Battle Against Anti-Cannabis Groups

Since June, the government has repeatedly stated that decriminalization is aimed at medical and commercial marijuana use rather than recreational use; while the draft bill did not explicitly prohibit recreational smoking, it did state that lighting up in public would be prohibited.

Other restrictions include prohibitions on emitting offensive odours in public, selling to women who are pregnant or people under the age of 20, and commercial advertising.

Cannabis users and entrepreneurs are concerned that they will face an uphill battle against politicians who hope to reverse the decriminalization of marijuana with the help of anti-cannabis society groups.

Many academics and medical doctors in Thailand have called for cannabis to be reclassified as a narcotic, and a network of students, parents and teachers added their voices to the chorus this week with a petition with 15,000 plus signatures.

A mass shooting at a daycare in October by a former policeman with drug ties is also fueling calls for a drug and gun crackdown. Although most Thais do not associate the shooting with cannabis policies, the Pheu Thai party’s main opposition has used the opportunity to sharpen its anti-drug rhetoric ahead of a March election.

Cannabis supporters argue that decriminalization has given cities a lifeline after COVID restrictions devastated the tourism-dependent economy. Thailand’s Tourism Authority has promoted cannabis as a travel experience, publishing a series of guidebooks promoting areas where tourists can visit legal organic cannabis farms and receive cannabis oil massages.

According to data from Thailand’s Public Health Ministry, over 1 million people have been licensed to grow marijuana through the government’s mobile phone application since June 9.

The benefits of tourism are obvious. A “cannabis complex” on Bangkok’s Khaosan Road, a backpacker haven, now has more than a dozen weed dispensaries where visitors can buy weed edibles, tea bags, massage oils.

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