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Cannabis Flowers as Type 5 Narcotic by End of 2024

Cannabis Flowers as Type 5 Narcotic by End of 2024

Mr. Somsak Thepsuthin, the Thai Minister of Public Health, addressed the national media regarding the Prime Minister’s proposal to reclassify cannabis flowers as a type 5 narcotic illegal drug. The government aims to use cannabis exclusively for medical and health purposes to generate economic value. The proposal process is expected to be concluded by the end of 2024.

According to Mr. Somsak, drafting the necessary legislation will involve two subordinate laws. The first, announced by the Ministry of Public Health, will designate “the cannabis plant” as a type 5 narcotic under the Narcotics Code, excluding certain parts: leaves, branches, roots, stems, and seeds. Essentially, only the flowers, or buds, will be considered the illegal narcotic portion. Hemp will not be classified as an illegal narcotic again, and CBD will also remain legal. The second law will outline regulations for growing, possessing, importing, exporting, or using cannabis.

The drafting of these laws must align with current Thai laws and government policy. Mr. Somsak emphasized that the laws must clearly define their goals and content for further proceedings.

The proposed subordinate bill includes three main objectives:

  1. Cannabis cultivation, possession, import, export, or consumption must be strictly for medical purposes, patient treatment, research, or similar uses, not for recreational purposes.
  2. The qualification process for granting cannabis use permissions must be clear, proportionate, and compliant with regulations.
  3. Ministerial regulations must be announced to the public in advance, allowing time for citizens and cannabis users to adapt and comply.

Mr. Somsak stated that the processes would not be overly complex or difficult for current genuine medical cannabis dispensaries and shops and should not disrupt users who truly need cannabis for medical reasons.

Meanwhile, pro-cannabis activists continue to protest making cannabis buds an illegal narcotic and hope to reach a compromise with the Minister of Public Health before any final laws are enacted, instead calling for better regulations.

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