An example of administrative responsibility that can also promote cannabis tourism while respecting the use of medical marijuana among natives and visitors
Even though the distribution of medical cannabis has not begun yet, there is a way to legalize your stash if you are Thai or expat and if you have a legitimate use for your herb. But foreigners in a similar situation can also benefit from this unprecedented initiative.
Those Thais who had cannabis for medical use before the law was enacted, can register it now due to a very interesting amnesty program that was launched by the Food and Drug Administration. Four citizens appeared the very first day. Right now, the process is only for cannabis and not for “kraton”, the other substance Thais love that could also be part of this program.
Those who have being consuming marijuana for treatments of approved uses before the law was approved and decide to become legal, must firstly get a medical certificate that verifies their eligible condition. This certificate must come from a certified doctor, dentists or/and traditional Thai medicine doctor.
With these certificates they can register with the FDA following some steps. Foreigners are eligible too. But if you don’t speak fluent Thai, you better get a translator.
Documents you will need
1 – ID Card or passport
2 – Medical certificates to verify your disease is being treated
3 – You must download the application form and get it printed. Then you have to fill in details such as name, ID number, all the details about the treatment of your medical condition, the quantity of cannabis you posses and the license of the doctor, dentist or traditional medicine doctor who certified what you say is right and your medical needs (See number two)
Get the amount of cannabis you posses ready
Potential patients have to bring the cannabis they have been using along with the application. If you have a large quantity that cannot be moved or it is too large for transportation take pictures of it, put it in an album and take it to the department staff, who will give you a date to send you an inspector.
Because the amnesty was created to put the law into force before the whole system can be implemented, the potential patients will be allowed to posses the amount they need for a period of 90-day supply. If the quantity you have exceeds that amount, you can choose between give away the excess, after filling out other form, or justify your need on the original form.
In case you cannot come, you always can give your authorization to a representative who will perform the application on your name.
You have to take all the above mentioned to the second floor of building No. 6 at the Food and Drug Administration’s central offices in Bangkok. If you live outside Bangkok, you can take it to any provincial public health office.
Once your application has been approved, officials will countersign the application form. You must keep it because it is the only evidence you will have of your legal situation. If your application is rejected, your cannabis will be seized. But, at least, they will let you go away without being arrested.
What happens if you are a tourist?
According to the law, the FDA and narcotics officials say that all the medical cannabis available in Thailand must be in a format approved by the Health Ministry. If you are a tourist who has a certificate for medical cannabis from a foreigner country, your cannabis can be confiscated.
Thai authorities recommend tourists to carry a copy of your medical prescription to show in the custom. Then you can contact the FDA upon arrival in order to obtain a official approval that will allow you to avoid being arrested or get your seized cannabis returned.
You will have to complete a different form than the above explained to declare how much cannabis you posses. After you take it all to the same FDA or public health office, you will also must show your passport, the evidence to prove you are travelling (airline tickets ), and a copy of your medical prescription and the prescribing doctors’ license from your country or from wherever you are being treated with medical cannabis.
But don’t forget to get a translator because all the forms are written in Thai and the authorities don’t know if that will change some day.
If you need more information, there are two hotlines to help you with everything related to your medical cannabis. One of the two lines is operated by the FDA and includes the possibility of speaking in English. It can be reached at 1556, Extension 3.
The second hotline has been established by the Narcotics Control Board for other matters. You must dial 1386, Extension 3. The two lines operate from 8:30am to 4:30pm. They are not operative on holidays; only on working days. You must be ready to wait a long time because the officials say they are very busy. It may be a lie or not, but the fact that Thailand has an official service like that seems like a miracle to me.
I was born in a country where cannabis remains illegal and yet, the gross domestic product (GDP) from tourism is 11%. I wonder how many more tourists could be obtained with a more open and liberal policy in relation to cannabis.
It is not strange that Thailand has more and more visitors every day. Because the reality is that cannabis tourism is very important for any country.