‘Very good for tourists’: Thailand aims for high season with U-turn on cannabis

‘Very good for tourists’: Thailand aims for high season with U-turn on cannabis

distinctive sweet smell wafts through Fisherman’s Village night market on the Thai island of Koh Samui, drifting up between the sticky mango rice stalls and bucket cocktail vans. The Samui Grower cannabis stall is doing swift business tonight. A table is laid with glass jars, each displaying a different flowering green bud, with labels saying things like ‘‘Road Dawg’ hybrid THC25% 850TBH/gram”.

Elsewhere on the island, at Chi beach club, tourists lie on couches puffing ready-rolled joints and munching pizzas topped with green cannabis leaves. On Instagram, the Green Shop Samui offers a marijuana menu of fantastically named buds: Truffle Cream, Banana Kush and Sour Diesel, alongside hemp cookies and cannabis herbal soap.

Anyone familiar with Thailand’s notoriously hardline attitude towards recreational drug use might watch this and wonder if they’ve had too much to smoke. A country where narcotics offences have attracted the death sentence, and being caught with a joint at a full moon party has landed tourists in the infamous Bangkok Hilton, now appears to have done an about-face. In an apparent bid to attract tourists in the post-Covid slump, the Thai government decriminalised cannabis last month. Koh Samui’s streets are already dotted with dispensaries with names such as Mr Cannabis, and tourists tell of being offered marijuana openly at the reception of their hotel. Yet the laws around cannabis are far more blurred than this “pot paradise” suggests.

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