Thailand’s reputation is somewhat of a paradox; while it’s long been seen as an adult playground for Western tourists, the country is also notorious for its hard-line stance on drugs.
For decades it’s had some of the harshest drug laws in world.
But after its economy was crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic, Thailand partly relaxed its approach in a bid revive the tourism industry and ease overcrowding in prisons.
In June, the country legalised marijuana, allowing people to grow cannabis and smoke it at home.
Immediately after the law passed, more than 3,000 prisoners convicted on cannabis-related charges were released from prison.
It also appears to be having its desired effect on the tourism front.
Highland cafe is the first legal cannabis cafe to open in the country and is already attracting hundreds of locals and tourists.
Bangkok-based legal expert Nathan Feeney has represented hundreds of locals and foreign nationals charged with drug-related offences.
“It’s been a bit of a surprise, because Thailand’s been really tough on drugs, historically,” he says.
“As long as I’ve been here, that’s the thing you don’t want to do. You don’t want to have a drug case in Thailand… I’ll say most foreigners, if they’re involved in a drug case in Thailand, it’s a cannabis charge.”
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(Originally posted by AggregatedNews)
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