THAI WEED IS IN ITS INDIE ERA
Let's make this last forever
Shoutout to Weed Shop Boys, an emporium of dank nugs that we covered in our last post! This week, let’s continue our stroll though Thailand’s blooming weed scene with a pitstop at Sativa Cafe—a little cannabiz that embodies what makes this moment so special… and precarious. This critical stoner crusade was only possible thanks to the hundreds of cuties who subscribe to Rave New World (THANK YOU!) Please throw some coins to keep us dancing on the Substack stripper pole!!
Krabi is a beachy paradise in Thailand with a dramatic majesty. The ancient province is the oldest settled land in Thailand—prehistoric humans scrawled strange animal paintings on cave walls here in 35,000 BC—and the landscape reminds you of its history. Dramatic limestone cliffs protrude from the Andaman sea, forming rocky crevices where monkeys dance next to Buddhist penis statues and goddess deities. These days, Krabi’s emerald waters are clogged with sun-roasted tourists staying at resort chains, yet its romance lingers. Every night as twilight descends, its streets start to smell like fish sauce, motorcycle fuel, and the flowery musk of weed.
Dodging motorcycles on the street, I continued my nocturnal expedition into the Thai weed scene. My parents trailed after me as we passed sports bars, an Italian restaurant selling infused pizza, and a smoking lounge decorated with bushy cannabis plants—all empty, except for bored-looking staff. The road began to grow quieter as we passed a palatial mosque, and I wondered if it was time to turn around. Then, rounding a bend, a little spot called Sativa Cafe that I recognized from Google Maps came into view. The mobile kiosk was decorated with a simple string of lights and surrounded by a few bar stools. A chalkboard listed a menu of coffees and sodas, while glass jars of buds and brownies lay on the countertop. Nothing too special—until the woman behind the counter with flower tattoos across her shoulders started to talk.
Sativa Cafe’s Apple and Marc (All photos by moi)
She told me her name was Apple, and that opening a weed shop was a dream she never knew she could have. Due to its humble set-up, I asked if the business was a renegade affair, but Apple assured me she’d jumped through many hoops to secure a three-year dispensary license for 3,000 baht (~$90 USD), currently only available to Thai citizens. “The police are coming to check more now,” Apple said. “They closed down a lot of illegal shops.” Her face furrowed. While her license keeps her safe for now, there’s been a sharp backlash against weed legalization in Thailand, with both medical establishments and opposition parties attempting to re-criminalize it. With a general election coming up in May, the political winds are likely to shift, and she’s uncertain how long she will be able to stay open.
In fact, cannabis in Thailand was decriminalized by loophole rather than legislation. When the government removed the plant from the country’s list of Category 5 narcotics last June, many interpreted this move as a green-light for the recreational market. A nascent cannabis industry exploded in a regulatory vacuum, without new laws regulating its use, cultivation, and sale. Some rules have since been put in place—like not selling to kids or pregnant women—but the market remains gray, and the future of Thai weed hangs in the balance.
“When you come to Thailand, you want to eat pad thai. So you should also try organic, outdoor-grown Thai weed.”
“Since you are a writer, I will tell you the problem,” Apple said, eyes widening. “Cookies is coming.”
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