S'porean holidaying in Thailand eats cannabis plant by accident as she thought it was kangkong

She only noticed a cannabis icon on the menu the next day.

Zi Shan Kow | September 25, 2022, 07:01 PM

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As Thailand relaxes its cannabis rules, cannabis and its products are becoming more and more accessible in the country.

Cannabis found in food and beverages

Shinmin Daily News (Shin Min) interviewed a 33-year-old Singaporean who is currently vacationing in Phuket, Thailand.

Anderson (not his real name) said that local shops selling cannabis-related products could be found everywhere.

In the ​​Patong Beach area, there were at least four cannabis specialty stores within a short 1km stretch of road.

"Other bars and restaurants also sell food and beverages containing cannabis, which are usually clearly marked to differentiate itself from other food," said Anderson.

Aside from restaurants and specialty shops, cannabis can also be found in convenience stores, supermarkets and bars, reported Shin Min.

Anderson said he ordered a cannabis syrup cocktail at a bar which cost 280 baht (S$10.67).

He believes the cannabis content is low, so he is not too worried.

However, he noticed that specialty establishments that sold cannabis joints were not particularly strict about conducting checks on its customers.

Singaporean accidentally consumed cannabis

Another housewife told The Straits Times that while in Chiang Rai, she had unknowingly eaten a "very nice" bowl of noodle soup which contained cannabis.

She only realised her mistake when she ordered the same dish the next day with her family, and noticed a picture of a cannabis leaf next to a photo of the dish on the menu.

The woman said there was no other indication that the dish contained cannabis, and she was shocked that it appeared in such an "ordinary dish".

She said the cannabis was boiled in the soup like any other vegetable and she had mistaken it for kangkong.

To err on the side of caution, some Singaporeans have opted to avoid entering any cannabis shops.

Cannabis in hotpot, seasoning and skincare

Thailand is the first Southeast Asian country to legalise medical marijuana in 2018.

In February 2022, cannabis was allowed to be added to food and beverages, given that the items do not have more than 0.2 per cent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by weight of the product.

These products must be clearly labelled to indicate that they contain cannabis.

The cultivation and possession of cannabis was also decriminalised on June 9, 2022, a few weeks before Thailand eased its Covid-19 restrictions for incoming travellers.

It has led to an explosion of recreational use, which, though legal, is discouraged.

Since then, cannabis has found its way into hotpot, seasoning products and even skincare.

Tourists to the country have also shown a keen interest in patronising its newly-opened cannabis cafes, reported CNN.

Smoking in public is illegal as it is deemed a nuisance, and regulations to restrict other recreational uses may affect these cannabis cafes in the future.

Cannabis currently exists in a grey area as the country has yet to pass a bill that will regulate its misuse.

Meanwhile, interim laws have prohibited the sales of cannabis and related products to those below the age of 20 and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Crime for Singaporeans to consume cannabis abroad

Thailand's tourism agency has advised tourists to be aware of and comply with the cannabis regulations of their next destination.

It is a crime for Singaporeans to consume cannabis abroad.

The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) said it would investigate any positive urine test result, regardless of how it is ingested.

Speaking in Parliament in August, Minister for Home Affairs and Law K Shanmugam said unknowing or involuntary consumption of drugs is usually not an offence.

He also said that the accessibility of cannabis in Thailand, a popular holiday destination for Singaporeans, will pose a challenge to keeping Singapore drug free.

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Top images via Goodsouls Kitchen/Facebook.