Cannabis bill to be reviewed, focusing on medical use only

Photo by Budding on Unsplash.

Cannabis will come under scrutiny as new Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew announced the formation of a committee to analyse a bill to regulate the plant. The primary objective, he insisted yesterday, is to ensure the use of cannabis remains strictly within the medical and health realm, prohibiting any recreational use.

The cannabis and hemp bill, sponsored by the Bhumjaithai Party, which successfully passed its first parliamentary reading in June last year, is to be examined in detail by this committee. The aim is to determine whether any revisions are necessary. Following this, the study will be presented to the cabinet, who will then decide whether to process the current draft act or discard it to make way for a new one.

Cholnan, conveying his firm stance against cannabis for recreational use, explained that, whether with this bill or a new one, cannabis will become much more regulated under his watch.

“Whether we continue with the present draft or develop a new one, I insist there must be laws to control cannabis use. Using cannabis for recreational purposes must be forbidden. The improper use of cannabis will lead to dangers for users.”

Taking a pioneering step, Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to decriminalise cannabis in June last year. The government decided to remove the plant from the narcotics list, with one key exception: anything containing over 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for creating the psychoactive effect, would still be considered a narcotic.

The objective behind this move was to encourage the medical benefits of cannabis and support the development of a cannabis economy. This involved promoting cannabis and hemp as cash crops and authorising its use in various industries, including food, fashion and cosmetics.

But the plant was legalised with very little regulation, leading to a massive explosion and oversaturation in smoke shops and recreational use businesses. Existing restrictions prohibit public smoking and the sale of cannabis to individuals below 18 years old and pregnant women.

Cannabis shops are required to apply for licences, and those cultivating cannabis for industrial use must also hold the necessary licences, reported 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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