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Poll shows most Thais want cannabis reclassified as a narcotic

A NIDA poll released on May 18 surveyed 1,310 Thais about the Thai government’s proposal to reclassify cannabis as an illegal narcotic, thereby outlawing any “recreational use”. The survey, conducted on May 14 and 15, included participants over the age of 15 from various careers and income levels across Thailand.

The survey revealed that 53.7% of respondents consider cannabis an illicit narcotic but acknowledge its medical benefits. Meanwhile, 33.6% view it as a narcotic with no benefits, 11.6% do not see it as an illegal drug, and 1.1% are unsure.

When asked about the government’s plan to relist marijuana as an illegal narcotic, 60.4% of respondents absolutely agreed, 15.3% moderately agreed, 14.5% absolutely disagreed, 8.9% moderately disagreed, and 0.9% did not know or were not interested.

Regarding compensation for cannabis farmers or businesses if cannabis is reclassified, 46.95% of respondents believed the government should not compensate anyone, 35% thought both farmers and businesses should be compensated, 10.1% said only farmers should be compensated, 2.1% said only businesses should be compensated, and 5.9% were unsure or did not answer.

In terms of personal experience with cannabis, 68.9% of respondents reported no experience, while 31.1% had some experience. Among those with experience, 52.6% had used it in food or drinks, 34.6% had smoked or consumed it, 22.4% used it for medical purposes, 16% had grown cannabis, and 1% had experience with commercial cannabis product processing and trading.

Pro-cannabis groups have been protesting the proposal to reclassify the herb/drug as a narcotic, arguing that it would recriminalise cannabis “except for medical use under strict regulations”. This could end home-growing practices and potentially lead to severe penalties for small amounts of marijuana, much as the situation was pre-June 2022, before the, then, Public Health Minister declassified cannabis.

(Percentages were rounded off to the nearest .1%)

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