Marijuana Laws and Arrests in Thailand
Arrests for marijuana possession are very common in Thailand. Arrests of foreigners and tourists normally occur in tourist areas. Although drug offenses are treated seriously in Thailand, cases of possession of small amounts of marijuana (“cannabis” or “ganja” as it is referred to in Thailand), are treated less seriously than many other forms of illegal drugs.
Frequently a marijuana arrest will occur after a person is apprehended smoking in public. Persons arrested often suspect that they have been informed on by someone that they met earlier. In other cases, persons believe that they have been informed on by a guest house or hotel proprietors.
Use of marijuana in small amounts is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and/or no more than a 10,000 Baht fine. Sentences for possession of marijuana are divided into two categories: less than 10 kg, or up to and more than 10 kg. Possession of less than 10 kg is subject to up to 5 years in prison and/or no more than a 50,000 Baht fine. For possession of amounts of up to or more than 10 kg or trafficking of marijuana, penalties are substantially more serious.
There are also serious immigration consequences for a marijuana arrest. In addition to being deported by immigration, there is also the possibility of being “blacklisted” from returning to the Kingdom.
The law governing drug crimes in Thailand is the Narcotic Regulation B.E. 2522 Act. This law covers substances such as heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines, crack and ecstasy, in addition to marijuana.
Charges for Possession of marijuana in Thailand can entail the following punishments:
- For minor use of marijuana, the maximum sentence is up to 1 year in prison and/or a fine of up to 10,000 Baht.
- For possession of up to 10kg, the maximum sentence is 5 years in prison and/or a fine of up to 50,000 baht.
- For possession of 10kg or more, this is considered as possession with intent to sell. The sentence can range from 2 - 15 years in prison, and/or include a fine of 20,000 to 150,000 baht. Charges can also be levied for amounts of 10kg or more for the intent to produce, import or export cannabis. The sentence is the same.