Public Health Ministry requests, then retracts cannabis crackdown

PHOTO: Ministry of Public Health retracts crackdown request on cannabis. (via Weedmaps)

First, it’s very illegal with harsh punishment, then suddenly it’s legal with no restrictions, then it’s banned for government, military, children, and pregnant women, then it was never intended for recreational use, and then cigarettes containing it will be banned. Now the rollercoaster that is the decriminalisation of cannabis in Thailand took another sharp u-turn as the Ministry of Public Health asked police to take swift legal action against unlicensed cannabis dealers and then immediately backed down after equally swift backlash.

Deputy Permanent Secretary for Public Health Dr Narong Saiwong said that the ministry will examine and modify its proposal after realising the request in the letter they wrote to the national police office on Tuesday will harm so many households and vendors. They demanded a crackdown against sellers, processors, exporters, and researchers of cannabis but the lack of regulations has created an unclarity that would negatively affect so many people.

They have now withdrawn the letter saying that targeting needs to be more specific. The legalisation allows for people to use cannabis leaves, stems, branches, and roots, and any legal action should target only those people I’ll go beyond that and make use of the cannabis flowers themselves.

But even those flowers exist in somewhat of a grey area, as the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine has now suggested that instead of the Ministry of Public Health Banning them, they set a legal limit for how many flowers a household can have. The department argues this allows people to use the cannabis flowers for personal traditional health remedies that apparently politicians pushing the decriminalisation had intended.

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For now, though, the Ministry of Public Health has rescinded its call for arrest and prosecution and will revisit the plans and regulations and make more conclusive decisions next week.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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