Debate over redefining methamphetamine possession limit in Thailand heats up

Picture courtesy of Thairath

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin called for a comprehensive discussion surrounding the Public Health Ministry’s proposal to redefine anyone in possession of under 10 methamphetamine pills as an addict rather than a criminal. The meeting over the methamphetamine possession debate took place yesterday and involved high-ranking officials from the Royal Thai Police (RTP), the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), and the prime minister’s advisories.

The 61 year old prime minister highlighted the importance of further deliberation before a conclusive decision is made on the ministry’s proposed reclassification. This methamphetamine possession proposal has been met with opposition from various agencies, including the RTP.

The RTP has expressed concerns that the proposed reclassification may escalate the drug issue, suggesting instead that a limit of five pills would be more appropriate.

Deputy National Police Chief, Kitrat Phanphet, concurred that the issue remains controversial. Discussions are ongoing within the RTP regarding the ministry’s proposed 10-pill limit, reported Bangkok Post.

Police, who are tasked with enforcing drug trade suppression laws and combating drug abuse, have insisted on maintaining the current five-pill limit, as set by law.

The ONCB has also voiced support for the existing legal limit, arguing that raising the limit to 10 pills could exacerbate the drug problem.

Acting Secretary-General of the ONCB, Phanurat Lakboon, expressed concern that a higher limit could create a loophole for increased meth trafficking by small-scale dealers.

“The peddling would flourish when a person could carry up to 10 meth pills.”

Phanurat warned that setting the limit at 10 pills could incentivise drug dealers to traffic and trade the illegal substance more freely.

Yesterday, a significant shift in Thailand’s approach to drug possession was underway, as the Justice Ministry and the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) were supporting an initiative by the Public Health Ministry. This initiative aims to reclassify individuals found with 10 or fewer methamphetamine pills as users rather than dealers. To read more click HERE

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Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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