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Cannabis Advocates Urge Government to Maintain Decriminalization

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A coalition of cannabis supporters urged the government on Thursday to reconsider its decision to reclassify marijuana as an illegal narcotic, following a recent policy shift just two years after its decriminalization.


Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is advocating for cannabis use strictly for medical purposes, emphasizing a stringent approach to illegal drugs, which he claims are contributing to addiction and negatively impacting the youth.


Pro-cannabis groups met with Public Health Minister Somsak Thepsutin on Thursday, encouraging him to reconsider the policy reversal.


“Even for medical use, don’t subject the people’s plant to bureaucratic control. It has been integral to our culture for centuries. Licencing only breeds corruption,” stated Prasitchai Nunual, Secretary-General of Thailand’s Cannabis Future Network.


Thailand first legalized cannabis for research and medical purposes in 2018. In June 2022, the government led by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha removed the plant from the national narcotics list, enabling cultivation, sale, and consumption.


This led to a surge in recreational use, with numerous cannabis cafes and dispensaries emerging nationwide, particularly in tourist areas, creating an industry projected to reach $1.2 billion by 2025.


Critics argue that the previous government rushed the liberalization process without drafting a comprehensive cannabis bill or clear regulations, resulting in public confusion and misuse.


Thailand has a long-standing tradition of using marijuana for pain relief and fatigue, as well as in traditional medicine and culinary practices. Mr. Somsak emphasized that cannabis should be limited to medical use.


Mr. Somsak’s predecessor, Dr. Cholnan Srikaew, had pushed for stringent legislation to curb recreational cannabis use. He had prepared a bill to clearly define approved medicinal uses and banned forms of consumption.


However, many cannabis businesses argue that the issue is not recreational use but the lack of clear regulations.


“There is nothing more sensible than a comprehensive Cannabis Act, addressing safety concerns like use among minors and regulated growth,” said activist and cannabis retailer Chokwan “Kitty” Chopaka.


“We do not support an uncontrolled cannabis market in Thailand but advocate for policies that support farmers, retailers, and medical users.”


Source: Bangkok Post


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The editorial team at Invest Bangkok Property


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