Thailand’s Public Health Minister has signed proposed legislation that emphasizes the medical use of cannabis and prohibits recreational use.
- The new proposed legislation in Thailand emphasizes that cannabis can only be used for medical purposes and there will be measures to control and prevent recreational use.
- The new law may require revisions to the existing regulations listing cannabis as a controlled herb, and the enforcement of organic laws will determine if a medical certificate is required for buying cannabis.
- Cannabis stores in Thailand will be required to sell only the parts of the plant that are considered legal, and the law aims to help police capture those who misuse cannabis for recreational purposes.
The law aims to encourage the use of cannabis for health benefits while implementing measures to control and prevent recreational use. The bill will be submitted to the Lower House for consideration if approved by the cabinet.
The regulation by the Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Department, which lists cannabis as a controlled herb, may need to be revised to align with the new law. The sale of cannabis in legally-registered stores will be allowed, but only parts of the plant that are legal in Thailand. The law will also aid in capturing individuals who misuse cannabis recreationally. In a separate incident, a large drug haul of cannabis was intercepted in Ireland, with some of the drugs being sent from Thailand.
The country legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes in June 2022, but without specific laws regulating its cultivation and sale, a recreational cannabis industry has developed.
Thailand, the first country in Southeast Asia to decriminalize cannabis, is now considering rewriting its laws on the plant.
Widespread recreational use
Conversely, the head of the Psychiatric Association of Thailand, Dr Chawanan Charnsil, observed in August 2022 that the recreational use of cannabis had become widespread since it was removed from the narcotics list. He remarked that this was very different from the medicinal use of cannabis envisaged by the Ministry of Public Health and warned it placed people with existing mental health disorders at greater risk.
Political opposition was anticipated from conservative Thai groups who questioned whether cannabis users are the type of tourists Thailand should welcome. There was also expected resistance from the country’s significant alcohol industry, as well as from criminal groups who previously controlled the illegal cannabis market.
Following the change in cannabis policy, there have been reports from multiple sources indicating a significant decrease in the street price of methamphetamine pills. It is important to note that methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance, and prolonged use is associated with serious harmful effects.
About the author
Boris Sullivan is a business news editor based in Hong Kong. He has over 15 years of experience in covering the latest trends and developments in the Asian markets, as well as the global economy.