Weed will only be used for medicinal purposes, says Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who noted that drug use-related issues are “widespread”
Following the delisting of the marijuana plant as a narcotic last year, Thailand became the first nation in Asia to decriminalize cannabis, sparking a boom in marijuana cafés and dispensaries in well-known tourist areas including Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Pattaya.
After thousands of marijuana stores popped up all over the country after Thailand became the first country in Asia to decriminalise cannabis a year ago, the country’s new prime minister promised to restrict the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Srettha Thavisin, who is in New York for the UN general assembly, stated in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Haslinda Amin on Wednesday 20th September 2023, that “the law ought to be rewritten”. He added that the government would work to “rectify” its cannabis laws and the rabid proliferation of shops that openly sell the drug within a six-month time frame. However, the country now faces a legal void because legislation to control its usage was never passed.
The coalition administration has agreed that the law has to be changed to forbid its usage for amusement, according to Thailand’s new leader, a real estate billionaire who took office in August. The Pheu Thai Party, led by Srettha, formed a coalition government with ten other parties and ran a strident anti-drug campaign before the election.
“It must be corrected. That can be restricted to medicinal use alone.
When asked if there would be a compromise for recreational usage, Srettha replied “No,” adding that drug-related issues have been “widespread lately.”
We don’t want a free-for-all anyway, so more regulation will be beneficial, Poonwarit added. “Cannabis is here to stay, but it’s not yet clear in what status.”
Some tourism business owners have applauded the decision to limit its use, noting issues brought on by lax industry oversight.
Rattapon Sanrak, the founder of the cannabis advocacy group Highland Network, said that reclassifying cannabis as a narcotic runs the risk of driving recreational usage underground, where there will be even less regulation. The majority of the cannabis stores open are for recreational use, according to Thanet Supornsahasrungsi, group executive director of Sunshine Hotels and Resorts in Pattaya, and there have been cases of marijuana overdose.
The prime minister, who was in charge of a ceremony to destroy drugs that had been seized by officials earlier this week, promised to “decisively reduce” the threat of drugs in Thai society within a year as part of Srettha’s government’s pledge to “eradicate” them. The Bangkok Post quoted Thanet as saying, “If we would like to use it for medical purposes, law enforcement should be stricter to ensure we can offer them medical treatment that is safe for their health.”
Along Southeast Asia’s huge Mekong River valley, Thailand is thought to be the main route for drug trafficking, with police officials allegedly frequently turning a blind eye. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes estimates that Southeast Asia’s organised criminal economy, which includes the illegal trafficking of drugs and wildlife, was worth $130 billion in 2019.
Srettha noted that the drug problem has recently become more pervasive, particularly in Thailand’s northeast and north.
And we don’t need to add yet more problems to the mix.
Currently, it is lawful for anyone over the age of 20 who is neither a mother nor a nursing mother to use cannabis at home, and licensed restaurants are authorised to serve meals containing its extracts.