Thai sticks: You may have heard of them. If you’re lucky enough, you may have even smoked on some during the ’70s. At the time, Thai sticks comprised some of the better-quality cannabis available. Buds were skewered onto bamboo sticks, wrapped in fan leaves, and tied with hemp cord. Today, Thai sticks are rarely brought up or seen in the legal market. When it comes to talk of Thai cannabis these days, it’s about medicinal cannabis and loss of profits.
Media reports suggest that American illicit-market cannabis is cutting into the profits of Thai cannabis cultivators. Growers in Thailand suggest that American growers are “eating their lunch.” Reports coming out of Bangkok/Pattaya, Thailand, are saying, “Thai growers and sellers say they are being undercut by illegal imports from the United States that sell for a fraction of the price of homegrown buds.”
Is this the case? If American black-market cannabis is being sold in Thailand for a fraction of the price of homegrown Thai buds, just how much money are they trying to sell homegrown buds for in Thailand? Is cannabis even legal there, and if it is, do people have access to cannabis there? These are some of the questions I am going to answer while exploring cannabis in Thailand.
Cannabis in Thailand
For the longest time, cannabis was illegal in Thailand. Back in June of 2022, that all changed when cannabis was officially removed from Thailand’s list of banned narcotics. If you’re not breastfeeding, pregnant, and over 20, you can legally consume cannabis in Thailand. Cannabis can be consumed in a private residence. Cannabis foods can be served legally by licensed restaurants in Thailand.
Public consumption is a no-no, and you could end up paying a fine of 25,000 baht ($750 USD) on top of landing you an extended stay at a Thailand prison for three months. Media reports say there are an estimated 5000+ cannabis stores across Thailand in which consumers can purchase cannabis.
You can grow cannabis in Thailand if you have registered with Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration. If you plan on researching, processing, or exporting cannabis, you will need to have the proper permits. There is no limit on consumption amounts, but it is advised not to drive after consuming cannabis.
Are Black Market Cannabis Growers Eating Thai Growers Lunches?
Imagine, if you will, for a moment, American tourists visiting Thailand. These tourists aren’t your normal American tourists, though. They are American cannabis growers stealthily stalking local Thailand growers’ lunches. Black market American cannabis growers love Thai food so much that they are going to real extremes to get authentic Thai food!
They wait for growers in Thailand to order Massaman Curry, Yam Nua, Hor Mok Ma Prow Awn, Pad Woon Sen, and other tasty Thailand delicacies. Then when least expected, they snatch them like grab-and-go curbside and vanish into the surroundings. None of this is true. But it may as well be if you are a Thai grower. Thai growers claim illegal black-market cannabis is taking food from their mouths.
If American black-market cannabis is, in fact, being sold by some of the 5,000 cannabis stores across Thailand, then there is a chance that this black-market cannabis is taking away from local profits. This could be seen as stealing lunch if you were a Thailand cannabis grower.
Does American Black-Market Cannabis Effect Homegrown Cannabis Sales in Thailand?
Prajya Aura-ek, a local cannabis entrepreneur in Thailand familiar with dispensaries in areas like Bangkok, told the media that quality locally grown Thailand cannabis sells for around 300 baht ($9 U.S.) per gram. In comparison, he says that American black-market cannabis is selling for 150-180 baht [$4.50-$5.30 U.S.] per gram. At Half the price, if the quality is there, black-market cannabis will sell, making both parties involved an illegal stash of cash free from taxes.
It seems like an awfully big risk to smuggle cannabis from America to Thailand. Especially just to sell it for $5 a gram. That only equates to $140 an ounce. You’d be better off opening a legal dispensary and selling it for $150-$300 an ounce or more here in the states. Average gram prices at an American dispensary range from $5 a gram up to $13.99 a gram or more. I’m not so sure it’s American black-market cannabis growers that are eating the lunches of Thailand cannabis growers.
It seems to me the same people eating the American grower’s lunches are the ones eating the Thailand grower’s lunches. That would be none other than local government. The government has found a way to get its hands on profits from cannabis growers. It doesn’t matter if you are in Thailand or America, your government is going to tax you. Instead of blaming American cannabis, let’s look at where else the problem might stem from.
The Local Government Is Holding Things Up
The problem with cannabis legalization is government. Your government, their government, our government, just pick one, and you have found part of the problem. Thailand is no different. Bangkok cannabis advocate Kitty Chopaka, told the media, “Since legalization, no one really [knows] whether we have the correct information.”
In the United States, the federal government is stalling cannabis legalization by keeping cannabis listed as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substance Act. In Thailand, the Parliament is stalling the progress of cannabis legalization. The people of Thailand are still waiting for the Thailand parliament to pass a long-overdue cannabis bill. This delay has left the regulatory framework for the cannabis industry across Thailand in a smokey cloud of confusion.
My guess is that when it comes to eating up the profits of local growers, the local government is there with both hands and their heads in the cookie jar. If governments would just end prohibition together, the world could participate in global cannabis trading that would open doors to hundreds of billions of dollars. For some of us, it would just be nice to see marijuana prohibition really over. For now, we’ll continue to watch the greedy fight for coins.
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This content was originally published here.