Pro-cannabis groups to protest over govt’s narcotic reclassification

Picture courtesy of Gallup News

Pro-cannabis groups are ramping up their efforts to resist the Thai government’s intent to reclassify cannabis as a narcotic drug, threatening to stage a protest outside the Ministry of Public Health. The demonstration will continue until the ministry can provide concrete scientific evidence backing its proposition.

On the other hand, certain factions of farmers, who have been legally cultivating cannabis since its decriminalisation in 2022, are allegedly in favour of the government’s approach. They argue that the liberalisation of cannabis farming led to an oversupply, causing the prices to plummet.

Prasitchai Nunual, Secretary General of the Cannabis Future Network, stated that when the pro-cannabis groups assemble outside the ministry, their sole demand will be for the ministry to present scientifically proven benefits and health risks associated with cannabis in comparison to alcohol and cigarettes.

“Whether the ministry wants to completely or partially reclassify cannabis as a narcotic, the decision needs to be backed by scientific evidence.”

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Nunual added that the ministry will have 15 days to substantiate their claim, and if they can convince the pro-cannabis groups, they will accept the ministry’s decision.

“Numerous studies indicate the health benefits of cannabis, enough to confirm its medicinal properties.”

Cannabis abuse

Nunual debunked the reports claiming a tenfold surge in cannabis abuse among youth since its decriminalisation and pointed out that his network has been advocating for stricter control over cannabis usage.

Speaking on behalf of the government, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin hinted at the possibility of continuing the use of cannabis strictly for medical purposes even after its reclassification as a narcotic drug. The 62 year old prime minister assured that despite their intent, the government is open to listening to opinions from all quarters and will leave the final decision to the Narcotics Control Board.

Supporting the government’s stance, Montri Yiamsung-noen, President of Rak Kan Community Enterprise Network, revealed that more than 90% of the farmland owned by the 435 farmers in the network is now idle due to the drop in cannabis prices caused by oversupply, reported Bangkok Post.

A source from another cannabis-growing community echoed the same sentiment, revealing the severe price drop from 10,500 baht per kilogram before the decriminalisation in 2022, to a mere 5 to 10 baht per kilogram now.

Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced that a formal study will be conducted, and two to three panels will review its findings before any decision to alter the legal status of cannabis is approved.

CannabisThailand News

Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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