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MP says cannabis helps reduce Yaba addicts in Bangkok

Bhumjaithai Party MP Suphachai Jaismut believes the legalising of cannabis has led to a decrease in the use of methamphetamine (also known as Yaba) in Bangkok.

Suphachai posted on Facebook yesterday that, “Ganja comes, Yaba goes away.”

The Bhumjaithai Party MP admitted that he never expected legalising cannabis would decrease the use of methamphetamine. He initially focused on its potential medical benefits and didn’t consider this possible outcome.

However, he stated that he had come to believe in the connection between cannabis legalisation and decreased Yaba use based on information provided to him by community leaders.

“I and my team operated fieldwork at one community in Bangkok recently. I found residents growing cannabis trees in their houses. The locals told me that they used cannabis as a herb. They made cannabis tea, and it helped them sleep better.

“I’m impressed by the community saying Bhumjaithai’s cannabis policy reduced Yaba addicts in the community. They turned to cannabis instead of those chemical drugs. Those people always cause problems in the community when using Yaba, but they are calm after using cannabis. The community is more peaceful.

“Cannabis has been used in several countries like Canada, the Netherlands, and the US. Cannabis does not make anyone addicted.”

Cannabis was removed from the Thai Public Health Ministry’s Narcotics Category 5 in June last year to use the plants for medical purposes.

The Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, emphasised that the recreational use of cannabis is still illegal, and smoking it in a public place would result in a three-month jail sentence and up to a 25,000-baht fine. Cannabis must be used under Thailand’s laws and conditions, and users must be over 20 years old too.

Many Thai Internet users agreed with Suphachai that cannabis has benefits, but most disagreed that it could reduce the number of Yaba addicts.

Instead, many reported that the only change they noticed was a decrease in the price of Yaba.

Reports from October of last year revealed that the price of Yaba had dropped from around 30 to 50 baht per pill to just 10 baht.

Additionally, many people reported seeing an increase in crimes committed by drug addicts. The decline in Yaba use in one community was not seen as sufficient evidence by many Internet users to prove the effectiveness of cannabis in reducing Yaba addiction.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger focusing on Thai news and what's happening in Thailand. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp.