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Pot policy ‘won’t be axed’

BANGKOK: Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has refused to back down from the move to decriminalise cannabis despite mounting calls for the policy to be immediately suspended.

By Bangkok Post

Wednesday 27 July 2022, 09:23AM

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul attends an exhibition at the Public Health Ministry on May 27, 2022, to promote the use of marijuana and hemp for the economy. Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul attends an exhibition at the Public Health Ministry on May 27, 2022, to promote the use of marijuana and hemp for the economy. Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill

Anutin, who also serves as a deputy prime minister, said yesterday (July 26) that a House committee scrutinising the bill on cannabis and hemp is expected to finish work on the bill by the end of next month before presenting it for approval by parliament and royal endorsement.

Anutin said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has promised to push the bill through during the current parliamentary session, reports the Bangkok Post.

“We cannot step back and make cannabis an illegal drug again. The plant is useful as a form of medical treatment and will benefit the economy. We have come too far [to turn back now],” said Anutin, who also leads the Bhumjaithai Party.

He tried to allay the concerns of those calling for the policy’s suspension, saying regulations are in place to control the use of cannabis and that its abuse by children is also illegal.

Pushing through the decrimi- nalisation of cannabis was among Bhumjaithai’s flagship policies ahead of the 2019 election.

Over 850 doctors and staff at Ramathibodi Hospital are calling to reverse the decision, pending the implementation of adequate controls to prevent the abuse of cannabis by youths.

This latest salvo was announced by the president of the Forensic Physicians Association of Thailand, Smith Srisont, in a Facebook post on Monday.

Dr Smith said 851 doctors, lecturers as well as alumni of Ramathibodi Hospital under Mahidol University are calling for the policy’s immediate suspension because decriminalisation without adequate controls to prevent cannabis use outside of medicinal purposes could have a negative impact on young people’s physical and mental development.

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In response, Bhumjaithai Party MP Supachai Jaisamut, who chairs the panel overseeing cannabis- and hemp-related laws, said there are rules in place that are meant to prevent cannabis abuse, especially by individuals under 20 years of age.

Addressing the doctors’ concerns, he said the government is “doing its best to come up with more effective rules to seal off any remaining legal loopholes in our medical cannabis regulations”.

Supat Champathong, permanent secretary for the Education Ministry, yesterday voiced support for the call, saying some announcements issued by the Public Health Ministry to regulate the use of cannabis were still unclear.

“One regulation bans the consumption of cannabis in public places, but not in private places or at home,” Mr Supat said.

“There was a news report about a school where students took cannabis in a closed-door classroom, but police could not take any action because they interpreted the action as having taken place in a private space,” he said.

“But this was clearly illegal because the school is a public place and people under 20 are banned from using cannabis.”

He said the liberalisation of cannabis should be suspended pending the enactment of clear legal controls.

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Taswegian | 28 July 2022 - 12:15:12

I am surprised no-one else noticed Kurt's subtle joke: "the high Thai officials." Brilliant in an article about mind altering substances!

christysweet | 28 July 2022 - 10:58:21

Sex oriented expats  who often  disparage over opinions are just showing another facet of their exploitative personality flaws .The 'clinics' popping up on every block are charging 10  times what they pay - and  the recreational usage remains illegal -as  just reported. As does un-permitted sale.  It's just another way to extract cash from hapless  foreigners- don't support it. 

JohnC | 28 July 2022 - 08:58:21

@christysour. Glad you quit too but it doesn't seem to stop you spouting wrong information. The 'local' weed that you refer to is poor quality compressed blocks usually full of stems and lots of seeds, harsh to smoke and doesn't get you very high. Proper high quality buds are well worth the extra $ and similar in price to western countries. Like comparing low alcohol beer to single...

JohnC | 28 July 2022 - 08:45:45

Thailand would look absolutely ridiculous and lose far too much face to back down and turn around now. Legaisation is a good idea but you will always have those who are negative about anything they don't know enough about or don't agree with. Alcohol has been legal for ever and look how much it is abused.

Fascinated | 27 July 2022 - 22:51:04

Its a good job he doesn't organise parties in breweries.

Kurt | 27 July 2022 - 14:14:08

This whole legalization is not for catching up with the developing 2022 global pot handling for the people. It is all the wake up/discovering the great honey money 'pot' making chance by the high Thai key figures in control. They now just struggle a bit to fit it in. It happend so 'fast'. Don't worry, legalization will be ok after a while.

christysweet | 27 July 2022 - 09:43:33

This legalization is an absolute genius idea  for sucking money from foreigners. Thais are paying 500 baht for 30 grams- 1 ounce  Foreigners are paying 500-1000 baht per gram at some of the 'clinics'. Glad I quit years ago. 


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