We are all cannabis aficionados who are committed to hunting down the best green in town. But what is it like to be on the other side of the counter? Vendors have to go through paperwork, comb through the market for quality products, deal with shitty customers AND work almost every day of the year to keep us high and happy. Budget Adventurer visited a small weed dispensary in the Phra Khanong locale in Bangkok to find out more about the business side of selling weed in Thailand. One of the partners of the shop, Tom (name changed for safety) spoke to us about the ups and downs of selling cannabis in Thailand.
Adventure Monkey (AM): What was the reaction of locals when weed was legalized?
Tom: Weed has been in daily use for much longer than people have been against it. The demographic that support the legalization is definitely younger than those who don’t. Older people who still remember the 70s are not against it as much either. Before it was legalized, people still smoked but you had to be careful. It’s a very detectable high and you can smell it from far away.
AM: Has owning a weed shop been a positive experience for you?
Tom: This whole thing basically saved my life. It gives dignity to something I can do. We’ve been enthusiasts for a long time and now we get to do it, pay taxes, tell family what we do and stuff like that. People who are really into it, do it really well. It’s good money too.
AM: What is the experience of owning a weed shop like?
Tom: Only cool people come. We don’t see as many tourists because we’re off the main road. We mostly have customers who are regulars. Generally we close early because we don’t want to deal with drunk people. We get some of the rowdy crowd sometimes. Usually when they smoke they slow down, unless they’ve been taking something weird. Sometimes we even have drunk underage children come in.
AM: Have you had any difficulties or legal complications since opening the dispensary?
Tom: Not really. There are some shops which are run by foreign owners, and the Thai partner is not around much and sometimes they face problems but otherwise we’re left to do our work. There’s like thousands of shops now so it can be hard to find staff who are knowledgeable as well.
AM: In what ways can the regulations around this space be improved?
Tom: Right now vapes are illegal and because that area is unclear it is not produced properly. That’s the stuff that really needs to be regulated now. Vapes could even be a safer choice for some people but because it’s not regulated it’s not good to use.
AM: Where does the weed come from?
Tom: Our produce comes from farms in Thailand. We source locally, mostly from farms in the North and North East. There’s definitely a lot of illegal imports coming into the market from overseas. I did visit some farms up in Essan/Isan, which is in the North East of Thailand. It’s a very pro-ganja province.
AM: Do you have customers coming in who are coming for medicinal purposes?
Tom: I like to think that all of them are (laughs). We’re not a pharmacy… And I can only make sure that the produce is as clean as possible. I can also recommend strains which are symptom appropriate. We have customers who come in with muscular pain and Parkinson’s. We work with the client to figure out what works best for them, and that’s usually done over a period of time.