Thailand’s Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, has used a Bloomberg TV interview in the US to announce plans to amend Thailand’s cannabis laws. The proposed changes aim to limit cannabis use strictly to medical purposes and to regulate retail cannabis outlets within the next six months.
In the interview with Bloomberg, PM Thavisin highlighted that since the decriminalisation of cannabis in Thailand last year, where it was removed from the Category 5 drugs list, the country has become the first in Asia to allow cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes.
This move led to a proliferation of retail outlets offering cannabis and its derivatives without prescription, not necessarily within the spirit of the intended liberalised changes.
The PM emphasised that there is widespread consensus among the government’s 11 coalition parties that cannabis and its derivatives should only be used for medical purposes. There was only one party, BhumJaiThai, in the lead up to the May election that didn’t propose either recriminalisation or a strict “medicinal-use only” policy.
Meanwhile, the new Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew confirmed on Thursday that BhumJaiThai could reintroduce its Cannabis Bill to parliament for ca new onsideration. He pointed out that despite cannabis’s removal from the Category 5 drugs list, it is still categorised as a narcotic.
The Minister stressed the importance of amending the Cannabis Act to “restrict its usage solely to medical purposes”.
He also highlighted the need to limit the cultivation of cannabis plants, particularly households’ right to grow up to 15 plants in their backyard.