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Économie politique du cannabis en Thaïlande


Couverture Note n°18Alexandre Veilleux
IRASEC, Bangkok
novembre 2023, 15 p.
Langue française Texte français

In 2019, Thailand became the first country in Asia to legalize cannabis for medical purposes, before decriminalizing the substance in 2022, provoking a break with its strict drug laws. This turnaround was made possible by a political coalition in which the party in favor of decriminalizing cannabis found itself in a very favorable position following the 2019 elections. The article explores the political and economic context behind such legislative changes, as well as their impact in Thailand and the Southeast Asian region. Data were obtained during an eight-month field survey in Thailand, between September 2022 and April 2023. Semi-directed interviews and participant observation were carried out in three tourist destinations in the country, namely Phuket, Bangkok, and Chiang Mai. It is argued that, although legislative changes have fostered the emergence of a significant cannabis industry fueled by tourism, they have also provoked public health concerns, as the number of Thais consuming cannabis has increased exponentially. While several states in the Southeast Asian region are closely watching the effects of cannabis decriminalization, the results of the latest elections in May 2023 could bring about a major turnaround in Thailand’s cannabis industry.

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Note n°18
13 November 2023