Weed is legal Thursday but please mind the smell: Thai health officials

A cannabis advocate smokes a joint at a rally on Jan. 25, 2022. Photo: Chayanit Itthipongmaetee / Coconuts
A cannabis advocate smokes a joint at a rally on Jan. 25, 2022. Photo: Chayanit Itthipongmaetee / Coconuts

Fingers are poised to strike lighters across Thailand on Thursday when marijuana is decriminalized, but today health officials had a sobering reminder: You still face arrest if you stink things up with weed smoke.

Though weed will no longer be illegal in three days, health authorities urged people to smoke on private property, or else they could get arrested for causing an “odor-based nuisance,” said Thongchai Keeratihattayakorn, deputy permanent secretary of the Health Ministry.

Holding weed – and using it – on track to be legal in 10 more days

The Department of Health has sent orders to related agencies about the “inappropriate use” of weed and informed them that people smoking in public can be arrested and charged for causing a public nuisance under health laws, which state generally that any activity generating a foul odor constitutes a statutory violation.

Those who smoke weed may face arrest. After a warning, repeat violations risk a THB25,000 (US$724) fine or three months in jail, or both.

Parliament is due to act on legislation amounting to de facto recreational legalization on Wednesday, just in time for cannabis to be removed from the list of controlled substances. The government has said only that people “should” use weed in private for “legitimate” purposes such as their health.

There is no limit on the potency of cannabis. The bill expected to pass would forbid creating secondary products such as hashish or oils with a potency of over 0.2%. Processing cannabis into products such as foods or medicines must get approval from the authorities.

More than freeing stoners from legal anxiety, the legalization of weed will see thousands of prisoners granted amnesty and freed after June 9. Drug convictions count for a disproportionate share of those filling its overcrowded prisons.

Related

Holding weed – and using it – on track to be legal in 10 more days

Bangkok’s biggest ‘420’ fest delayed until cannabis no longer criminal in June

High spirits: Thai stoners celebrate legal weed smoking (Photos)

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