Thailand’s Public Health Minister vows to keep weed legal if he stays in office

Thailand’s Public Health Minister is vowing to keep weed free and legal so long as he stays in office. Anutin Charnvirakul told advocates for the plant that the possibility of cannabis being re-criminalised would not be possible if he is voted into office again. Anutin has been credited with starting the weed revolution in Thailand, and he continues to support its legalisation.

“It’s not possible as long as I’m minister of health.”

According to Coconuts, Anutin says the health ministry is trying to create regulations that better control the sale of cannabis, which has been legalised since June 9. One regulation includes retail shops staffing qualified medical professionals. Anutin noted that dispensary owners should be promoting the health benefits of weed-which is why it was supposedly decriminalised. He furthered that such owners need to have a proper license to avoid any future legal problems. But, he made it clear that the future of cannabis in Thailand was dependent on his party remaining in office.

“So please vote for the Bhumjaithai Party. You have nothing to worry about when it comes to decriminalization as long as I’m in office. You should vote for me in the next election.”

His requests for votes came during a meeting of cannabis supporters who say they want to show that supporters for the plant consist of not only hippies and stoners but rather the mainstream middle class who have benefitted economically after the post-pandemic decriminalisation.

Soranut “Beer” Masayavanich told Coconuts that Anutin’s comments were a relief after rumours swirled that the Narcotics Control Board may reverse its decision to remove cannabis buds from the list of controlled substances.

“I’m relieved. New regulations will come out in a few months. I just want to hear from Anutin’s mouth that hell won’t be on earth.”

Oppositional politicians cited Thailand’s society as being similar to having a Reefer Madness morality, but supporters say the Thai media has perpetuated misinformation that included giving incorrect medical information about the drug.

Just this week, the government’s chief legal adviser also vowed that cannabis would stay legal, offering a glimmer of hope for those who may be getting paranoid about smoking. Pasian Dankhum, secretary-general of the Food and Drug Administration echoed Anutin’s message.

“The weed plant is not illegal but it is a legally controlled product. We are not going to re-criminalise cannabis but instead create a set of rules via directives to control it.”

Tom Kruesopon, a cannabis investor who has worked with Anutin, says advocates of weed should promote its benefits online, but not while high.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.