Politics, Travel

A Guide To Visiting Cannabis Friendly Countries In Asia

November 12, 2019 02:50 pm ET
A Guide To Visiting Cannabis Friendly Countries In Asia

Around 500 years ago, cannabis evolved in Central Asia. They were the first to use cannabis as herbal medicine. Asia constitutes over 40 countries, most of which still deem Cannabis illegal. However, more of them are beginning to loosen up on their restraints. In February, Thailand decriminalized and legalized medical Cannabis. By the 1980s, Thailand had become one of the leading exporters of cannabis. It is said that Thai cannabis will soon be the industry’s global leader, much like that of Swiss watches or Apple smartphones. Consumers of cannabis that have tried Thai cannabis explain that its’ indigenous strains are the strongest, densest and even completely seedless. Now that cannabis is legal in Thailand, many may travel there to try their infamous strains, but can tourists acquire it?

Well, the answer is restraint yet generous. Tourists will only be able to acquire medical cannabis (through registration) but we will also be able to get things to the likes of medicinal tour packages (such as detoxes), cannabis-infused massages as well as other wellness courses using cannabis substances. As if their massages weren’t legendary enough, now they’ll have the option of including our favorite plant, cannabis. Thank you, Thailand!

Pipat Ratchakitprakan, Thailand’s newly anointed tourism and sports minister explains that they want to attract quality tourism through the promotion of medicinal marijuana. They would like to see high-spending visitors in their country just for cannabis.  Although they refuse to have the public get high on recreational supply, they have already produced their first rounds of pharmaceutical THC and CBD oils, tablets, oral sprays, chocolate wafers (YUM) and portions of the plants itself. You can NOT buy cannabis for recreational use in Thailand. If you are caught, you could be faced with a jail sentence and a fine. 

What You Need to Register for MMJ in Thailand:

  • Identification documents
  • Medical certificates verifying relevant medical condition(s) being treated.
  • The application form (which you will need help with as it is all written in Thai)
  • Note: You will have to register at: The Food and Drug Administration offices in Bangkok. 

Other Asian Countries Race to Legalize

Running the race of cannabis legalization, for the southern Asian countries, alongside Thailand is Malaysia. They have already taken steps towards the legalization of cannabis. Malaysia is set to become the second Southeast Asian country to legalize medicinal cannabis. Malaysia is currently working with THC Global Group Ltd to develop policy frameworks and a path to legalization. The country’s deputy health minister stated that there will still be a need to convince the government for its legalization but the investment and involvement of the giant, THC Global Group Ltd., could be the force that helps to win. As it stands, cannabis is still illegal. 

The Philippines

The Philippines is also looking to the legalization of medical as the cause gained the support of the Philippines Committee on Health. The House Bill No. 180 sets out the rules for proper use of cannabis, qualifying medical cannabis physicians, qualifying cannabis patients, qualifying medical cannabis caregivers and qualifying medical cannabis compassionate centers. This bill has the support of the Philippine Cancer Society. However, the bill has yet to be passed. Like Malaysia, cannabis is still illegal for the moment. 

South Korea

Perhaps the most surprising Asian country to legalize cannabis is in one of its northern countries, South Korea. Their legalization of medical cannabis took effect in March and keeps tight restrictions on the products and who can access them. Just like Thailand, individuals wishing to acquire cannabis will have to apply with the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and can receive medical marijuana from the Korean Orphan Drug Center. You’ll need the same documentation, as you would need for Thailand, but you will also have to give your medical records and a doctors’ note stating that there is no substitute medicine available in Korea. As you can imagine, getting this medicinal cannabis approval would be harder to attain in South Korea than it would in Thailand. 

If you consume cannabis for medicinal purposes and feel like a vacation… back your bags and head to Thailand. But don’t forget your documents. Remember that Asia’s legalization of cannabis may be making progress, but it remains illegal to purchase any cannabis products from unauthorized places or people and especially if it’s for recreational purposes. Keep your eyes peeled as more and more countries in Asia, and around the world, move towards the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis.

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