Thailand’s short-lived attempt to liberalise its cannabis laws will come to a crashing halt in the next 12 months with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin ordering that the country’s cannabis shops be closed by April 2025.

He also insisted he wanted the substance reclassified as a scheduled narcotic by the end of this year.

Thailand decriminalised cannabis in June 2022 with the government actively encouraging people to grow their own – even announcing it was giving away one million plants to households throughout the country to celebrate the change.

A street vendor sells cannabis in Bangkok (Photo by ThaimaaOpas on Unsplash)

However, the new rules allowing home grow for medical purposes, and for use in the production of food and cosmetics, got off to a bumpy start after businesses began openly selling cannabis on the streets of Bangkok.

The government quickly issued a number of new measures amid fears over unchecked use of the substance, including by children, with Thavisin pledging to rewrite the country’s cannabis laws to allow medical use only and put a halt to recreational sales.

Thailand’s emerging cannabis industry was estimated to be worth 28 billion Thai baht (A$1.16 billion) within the first year of the 2022 changes and was projected to reach 336 billion baht ($13.86 billion) by 2030 prior to the prime minister’s announcement.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

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