Hashish cafes the most recent addition to Thailand’s tourism choices

The RG420 hashish cafe opened simply 4 days in the past in Khao San, an space of Bangkok fashionable with backpackers – and already it is full of clients.

A number of such shops have sprung up throughout the capital since Thailand decriminalized the plant in June, a number of weeks earlier than it dropped COVID-linked controls on overseas guests.

Overseas arrivals shrank to 2 million within the first half of 2022 from almost 40 million in 2019, and RG420’s proprietor Ongard Panyachatiraksa and others like him view their cafes as central to efforts to revive a tourism business that contributed about 12% to GDP earlier than the pandemic struck.

He mentioned lots of have been visiting the cafe every single day, and he plans to open others.

“Europeans, Japanese, Individuals — they’re in search of Thai sativa,” Ong-ard informed Reuters, referring to a hashish pressure. “Hashish and tourism are a match.”

Not everybody agrees.

In 2018, Thailand grew to become the primary Southeast Asian nation to legalise marijuana for medical use. In June, your entire hashish plant was decriminalized.

That has led to an explosion in its leisure use, one thing that authorities officers – involved about damaging results on well being and productiveness typically linked to uncontrolled use of the drug – have retropectively tried to discourage.

“The regulation doesn’t cowl leisure hashish use… and so tourism promotion is targeted on medical (features),” the nationwide tourism authority’s Deputy Governor, Siripakorn Cheawsamoot, mentioned.

The pushback in opposition to the way in which the brand new coverage is being interpreted has brought on some confusion, with authorities resorting to issuing piecemeal rules such banning public smoking of hashish and its sale to under-20s.

A parliamentary committee is now debating a invoice to manage hashish use that’s anticipated to finalize in September and will affect the hashish cafes.

Akira Wongwan, a medical hashish entrepreneur and one of many committee’s advisers, mentioned she anticipated leisure use to be topic to zoning legal guidelines.

In the meantime, within the crowded smoking room at RG420 — a reference to Rag Gan, a Thai expression that means “love one another” — Briton Malik Khan has simply completed rolling a joint.

“This nation is gorgeous, and there is a lot to do right here as nicely,” the 26-year-old mentioned. “It (hashish) provides to the scene actually properly.”