333 at the beach Zonezi Properties British International School, Phuket
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search

Phuket cannabis businesses call for support

Phuket cannabis businesses call for support

PHUKET: The Phuket Cannabis Association is calling for support to stave off any prospect of cannabis becoming recriminalised under the coalition formed by the leading Move Forward Party.

By The Phuket News

Saturday 27 May 2023, 09:00AM

To show their support, people are urged to sign an online petition organised by cannabis association Weed in Thailand, which represents more than 4,800 licensed cannabis operators in the country.

As of yesterday (May 26), the petition had 5,525 signatures, comprising 3,591 citizens, 310 farms, 191 companies, 838 expats and 595 tourists. The deadline for signing the online petition is this coming Wednesday (May 31).

“The signatures to the petition will be collected from throughout Thailand. They will be printed out and handed to a lawyer, who has been fighting for the legalisation of cannabis for 10 years, to present them to the new Minister of Health,” explained Poonwarit ‘Thames’ Wangpatravanich, President of the Phuket Cannabis Association.

“This is not just important for Phuket, but important for Thailand as a whole,” Mr Poonwarit said.

Mr Poonwarit believes cannabis becoming fully criminalised again is growing less likely. “We understand that it is just a political play. I don’t believe that it will be fully criminalised again,” he said.

“What it will be is a more structured, more regulated industry, which is good for the industry as a whole. It will be more sustainable because want anything too much or too little ‒ there needs to be a balance,” he said.

“For us to be more regulated would be the best thing that can happen to us,” Mr Poonwarit noted.

“Even though Kao Klai Party [Move Forward] said they want to criminalise it, it sounds like what Bhumjaithai wants to do with the Cannabis Act. From this direction alone it seems like there is nothing to really worry about because it will not be back to fully criminalised, but what I think it will be is that people who do not follow the rules would be subject to criminal legal action.

“I think that is a good thing, and not necessarily a bad thing, because it will only affect people who do business without licence, people who do business with underage kids and pregnant women, people who sell import weed, which is destroying the market here in Thailand, and of course people who import illegal weed,” he explained.

“So these things need to be controlled,” he agreed.

“So if that is the case, why do we need the petition?” he posed. “I believe that we need to be prepared. So we hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. If that comes, then we have a full arsenal in our hands [to counter the recriminalisation],” he added.

“If cannabis is criminalised again, then we will have thousands of people in support of us. We are also already working on a ‘Cannabis Act’ drafted by the people,” he said.

“We need to get ourselves ready for whatever situation that may come, and once we have this we will be confident, we will be calm, we will be at peace and we can continue with our lives and our business,” he added.


“Phuket is already the capital city of cannabis in Asia,” Mr Poonwarit said with full confidence.

“The value and the volume of what is sold here legally ‒ and illegally ‒ is most impressive,” he said.

There are more than 1,300 licensed operators in Phuket. “From what I am aware, we already have 700-800 shops [in Phuket] already open,” Mr Poonwarit noted.

“Already in Thailand we have over 10,000 operators who have applied or already been issued a licence,” he added.


“For Phuket, cannabis is highly important,” Mr Poonwarit noted. Even if each operator sold just one gramme of cannabis a day ‒ the smallest baseline he could think of ‒ the economic benefit to Phuket would still be of high importance, he said.

According to the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the cannabis industry in Thailand is expected to be worth US$1 billion by 2025.

“Phuket is already a tourism city. If we can increase our GDP by 5-10% with a new segment of cannabis tourism, why not? We have the infrastructure, much better than Amsterdam, where its cold and it is wet and does not have as many places to stay. In Phuket we have a tropical climate and more than 10,000 keys, or units, where visitors can stay,” he said.

“Phuket has a strong competitive advantage compared with other locations around the world regarding the cannabis industry,” he said.

“Right now what we have is just the minimum. We can do more ‒ way more ‒ if we do it right. And we can move in more dimensions, not just the dispensaries, but also on the medical side in terms of cannabis medical tourism,” he said.

“Right now we don’t even have a cannabis-themed hotel or a cannabis-friendly hotel that is pushing this, but if we do that, it will be another level ‒ and of course the cannabis industry here in Thailand has the biggest advantage [compared with its competitors],” he added.

The rapid growth of the cannabis industry has presented its own problems, not just in terms of regulations, Mr Poonwarit noted. 

“For this new industry we will need much more human resources to make this work. Right now we are in a supply shortage of human resources to work in cannabis-related businesses already

“We want to be able to train them to be able to compete with international standards in the cannabis industry,” he said.


The Phuket Cannabis Association will be holding a meeting this coming Thursday (June 1), Mr Poonwarit explained.

“We are calling for people in the cannabis business in Phuket to come and discuss these points: the politics, potential new regulations, the illegal import stuff, and foreigners doing business here,” he said.

“These are the problems that people are having. We hope that this event will help them feel more at ease and we will collect this data for further action,” he said.

For details of the meeting on Thursday, visit the Phuket Cannabis Association official Facebook page (click here).

To sign the online petition, click here.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

* (Not Hotmail/Outlook)

Fascinated | 28 May 2023 - 19:38:30

As with any fad they glut the market. 3 shops in Kamala might make a profit but ten is ridiculous. Inflated prices for tourist B700/g when one can get from up north as low as b15/g depending on what deals are going. They got greedy and can suffer the consequences. 

christysweet | 28 May 2023 - 14:32:22

Absolutely  it was never approved for recreational usage, but   that provision got bent over backward to be a huge  boost to tourism when needed. More evidence of  poorly implemented governing practices that breed disrespect for laws. 

Prab | 28 May 2023 - 13:37:52

stop issuing licences,
stop online sell ( you can buy it anywhere online and could well be school kid buying)
Do proper zoning for shops,
allow doctors to issue cheap medical certificates to tourist or thais who like to use it. 
ban public smoking anywhere at all times.

this could be a decent start and keep this plan legal... 

Kurt | 28 May 2023 - 00:45:48

Pascale is derailing attention from reality. Rules/law? There aren't any confirmed by law makers this moment. The financial Thai greed in handing out sales licenses was premature/overruling anything. I know 3 recreational licensed selling shops. They even put in day time fresh plant cuttings in the sun outside their shop to grow. But there are more serious matters to put attention on.

Old guy | 27 May 2023 - 13:58:27

Great intent. But, unfortunately, signing the petition also provides a list of people a government might want to pursue. Could be very useful to a corrupt 3rd world country. 

megamind | 27 May 2023 - 13:04:21

never be more happy: stooned people driving around make me piss off

Davew | 27 May 2023 - 11:35:32

Who is that comparing phuket with Amsterdam.
The reason if he did his research was more and more complaints from Dutch people who live there that it leads to harder drugs ect.
Personally i hate the stuff, you can buy it anywhere even my hairdresser sells it with a big sign outside.
Regulated of course not,now you can be high and drunk when you kill yourself on a unlicence scooter without a lice

Pascale | 27 May 2023 - 11:28:14

The moaning twins are on it again. Cannabis were never meant to be sold for recreational use. It got completely out of hands. Most people voted for those party's who would like now to clarify/change the rules of using cannabis.   

Kurt | 27 May 2023 - 10:33:53

Mr Poonwarit should x-ray Thai Customs regarding illegal import stuff. Looking 'after' foreign business people? Check them at Immigration offices were these foreigners a complete business application 'book' have to hand in to do/continue legal business. He should explain what part of Phuket's local infrastructure is better than Amsterdam's international infrastructure. 

Kurt | 27 May 2023 - 10:02:20

To recriminalising cannabis is a 'passed station'. Many legal planters/sales shops paid a lot of money to Officials to get 'legal' certified. Government can not flip flop back to square zero. That would make Government AND Thai law makers(!) incredible.

JohnC | 27 May 2023 - 09:26:47

To even consider recriminalising cannabis shows that the 'Move Forward' party is more interested in 'Moving Backwards" like it's predecessors. Think like young people rather than falling for the status quo yet again.


Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Two injured in accidents in front of Satree Phuket School within one night

Two totally unneeded 'accidents'. We not read about alcohol- and drugs tests done. No charg...(Read More)

Kathu Police transferred after nightclub raids

We just wait for a 'Colonel raid' of Chalong RTP station like done Patong and Kathu. Nasa12 ...(Read More)

Officials investigate tourists ordered out of van at Phuket pier

No one was 'ordered' anywhere with threat of force. Seems to me the situation was de escala...(Read More)

Car collides with stray cows on Thepkrasattri Rd

Uh, from the damage on the truck, somewhere is a cow suffering horribly if not already dead from se...(Read More)

Male employees to receive 15 days of paternity leave

GASP! 'Woke-ism' (aka compassionate humanism) has come to Thailand. ...(Read More)

All taxis welcome at Rassada Pier after ’turf war’ hits spotlight

The days of tourists having to walk and drag their luggage a long way off the airport to avoid the c...(Read More)

All taxis welcome at Rassada Pier after ’turf war’ hits spotlight

Great news! Today Rassada Pier...soon to fall should be the mafia run cartels at the airport. Seems ...(Read More)

All taxis welcome at Rassada Pier after ’turf war’ hits spotlight

There is not a single day that Phuket not proves NOT to be a international first class tourist desti...(Read More)

All taxis welcome at Rassada Pier after ’turf war’ hits spotlight

Talking about a 'long time solution', there is just one: Cancel/rule out permanent any right...(Read More)

All taxis welcome at Rassada Pier after ’turf war’ hits spotlight

would be better to have that sign written in english also...just in case... ...(Read More)