Just two months after new laws were established that essentially decriminalized the drug, Thailand’s Minister of Public Health issued a statement on Wednesday discouraging tourists from visiting the nation solely for the purpose of smoking marijuana.
When challenged by reporters about the prevalence of recreational marijuana usage among tourists from other countries, Anutin Charnvirakul responded, “We do not welcome those kinds of tourists.”
In 2018, Thailand made history by becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to decriminalize cannabis for medical purposes. The entire plant was made legal for recreational use on June 1 after being removed from the list of controlled substances.
In spite of the government’s efforts to discourage getting high, cannabis businesses that provide designated smoking areas have proven to be popular with both locals and tourists.
Those who do smoke in public, however, run the possibility of receiving a jail sentence of up to three months or a fine of up to 25,000 baht ($705.82).
The comments made by Anutin come at a time when the tourism-dependent nation is seeing an increase in the number of visitors from other countries. The economy of the country with the second-largest population in Southeast Asia anticipates between 8 and 10 million visitors this year, which is an increase from the previous prediction of 7 million.
The epidemic reduced the number of people arriving from other countries to just 428,000 in 2018, whereas they are expected to reach a record high of around 40 million in 2019.
The medical and health benefits of cannabis have been the primary focus of Thailand’s cannabis legislation, which has resulted in the creation of an industry worth 28 billion baht ($790.29 million).
However, according to Anutin, once there was a greater understanding of the substance, it might be possible to experiment with its use for recreational purposes.
He stated that it was possible that it may occur in the near future.
The cannabis legislation of Thailand has piqued the curiosity of Thailand’s neighboring neighbors, such as Malaysia, which is doing research into the potential medical applications of cannabis.