Bangkok, the city of decadence, where the ban on marijuana has been lifted. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Bangkok, the city of decadence, where the ban on marijuana has been lifted.

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Cannabis stores come together in kitchen cars on Khao San Road at night

Starting July 9, Thailand became the first country in Asia to legalize marijuana. The Thai government surprised other Asian countries by distributing 1 million free marijuana plants to households throughout the country in order to stimulate the cannabis industry. However, the use of marijuana is limited to medical purposes, and recreational smoking is still prohibited, with a penalty of up to three months’ imprisonment and a fine of $800 (about 110,000 yen).

What is the reality of the situation? Curious, I flew to Bangkok, Thailand, in mid-July, still reeling from the ban, to find out. What kind of scene could be seen in Bangkok, which could be called the Amsterdam of the East?

After arriving in Bangkok and checking into my hotel, I immediately wandered around the city looking for some hints. The area where I stayed is called Sukhumvit area, which is dotted with relatively high-class residential areas and is safe. Soon after, I went into a nearby 7-Eleven and immediately found a 7-Eleven. I found Canavis Water (cannabis water) in the drink corner. I think it was 25 baht (about 100 yen), and I went back to the hotel and drank it. I waited for a while, but nothing happened. That’s because, as far as beverages are concerned, it is stipulated that the content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an ingredient that uplifts the mood, must be less than 0.2%. Nothing happens at that level.

Canavis water tastes like a thin sports drink.

We also left the hotel and strolled around town. This time, I found a blackboard on the street with a picture of a marijuana leaf on it. Fearful, I walked into the store, only to be greeted by the manager’s uncle, who said, “I’ve only got a joint.

He asked me, “I only have a joint.

I was so surprised. I was surprised to hear that I could buy it. I said, “No, I’m just thinking about it.

“No, I’m just thinking about it.

I replied, “No, I’m just thinking about it. Then he said

He offered me something like a menu.

He gave me a kind of menu. On the menu was a list of marijuana brands, their happy, relaxing, and uplifting qualities, each of which was indicated by a number of “*”. The store was under construction.

Soon, we’re going to turn the space in the back into a café space so you can smoke inside,”

He said. By the way, a joint costs 500 baht (about 2,000 yen).

I said I would come back again and left the store. This system is almost the same as that of coffee shops in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I went there about 10 years ago, so it may have changed. After walking around quite a bit, I found that there is only one such store at each station. But, to put it bluntly, I think this is a real ban on marijuana.

Afterwards, I had dinner with a Japanese friend who lives in the area. When I told him how I could buy marijuana if I wanted to, he said

I told my friend that there was a much better place to buy marijuana. Khao San Road at night.

Khao San Road at night. The “WEED” sign stands out. There used to be no sign like this.

Khao San Road used to be known as a mecca for backpackers, a hub where travelers gathered to exchange information with other travelers. I have been there several times and stayed at cheap hotels. Later, Khao San Road, which had ceased to be a mecca for backpackers, became a playground for white people. It was a zone of clubs and bars. What is it like now? I decided to go to Khao San Road to find out.

It was 7 o’clock at night. The darkness fell, and Khao San Road, which had been calm and peaceful, began to show a different face. Khao San Road and its surrounding area had been redeveloped, and the scenery I had seen before had vanished without a trace. The landmark Burger King at the end of the street was also closed. I couldn’t help but feel a little sentimental.

Then the kitchen cars started to gather one after another. They lined up in a regular pattern along Khao San Road. I saw a man holding a sign that read “Weed. These were all marijuana stores. There must have been eight of them in all. They would mix the marijuana and sell it to us in joints. The customers were mostly Caucasians.

I asked the shopkeeper why he chose Khao San Road.

He replied, “Because this is where they sell the most.

He replied, “Because this is where they sell the most.

After that, I reported to my friend that I had gone to see the place.

He said, “Oh, wasn’t it great? But there are already Japanese who are buying land in the suburbs to grow marijuana and sell it, so I think it’s only a matter of time before some kind of problem surfaces.

I see. …… So there are Japanese who are flying too far.

The former mecca for backpackers has, over time, turned into a marijuana mecca. As a former backpacker, I have mixed feelings about this. However, cities are interesting because they change. I forced myself to accept it. Without a doubt, Bangkok was the Amsterdam of the Orient.

The author is not advocating the smoking of marijuana for recreational purposes in Thailand. This article is intended to convey the reality of the situation.

Various brands of marijuana on display.
Marijuana on display. Mixing and making a joint.
  • Interview, text, and photography by Keiichi Kanda (Editor, Writer)

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