June 9 was a historic day for stoners all over Thailand, as cannabis became officially decriminalized in the kingdom. The entirety of the plant is legal, but extracts containing more than 0.2% and smoking in public is still prohibited. People can now grow, possess and sell cannabis—though the government insists that it should be intended for “medical purposes only,” interpretations seem to vary.
Since the decriminalization, scores of cannabis dispensaries quickly popped up across the country. However, without clear regulations or guidelines, the industry experienced several weeks of a legal free-for-all—much to the disdain of critics. Since then, some regulations have been put forth. For example, vendors must now obtain permits to sell cannabis. As of publishing, however, the legal framework around the production, use, and sale of cannabis still remains largely unclear.
One of the key players in the country’s budding cannabis industry is the advocacy group, Highland. What started as a Facebook page 10 years ago has now grown to the biggest 4/20 festival Thailand has ever seen. Meet Arun “Max” Avery, and Rattapon “Guide” Sanrak, and Chaiwat “Wat” Banjai, co-founders of Highland Café. It’s one of the country’s most famous legal dispensaries that now also sells buds, much to the delight of the hundreds of customers lined up outside their doors.
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