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MP urges parliament to be weed-free zone

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the Royal Thai Armed Forces not to use cannabis and a Democrat MP has asked the House Speaker to ban any use of the drug in parliament.

Deputy spokesman for the Defence Ministry, Col Jittanat Punnothok, said after a Defence Council meeting on Friday that Gen Prayut, who also serves as defence minister, instructed the three armed forces as well as the Royal Thai Police and the Government Public Relations Department to raise awareness among civilians about the risks involved in cannabis cultivation and consumption.

Col Jittanat said Gen Prayut also enforced a strict ban on the recreational use of cannabis among servicemen. Moreover, they were warned not to promote such usage on social media.

“All organisations under the Defence Ministry must follow the Public Health Ministry regulations on cannabis use. They are allowed to consume cannabis for medicinal purposes but not for recreational use,” said Col Jittanat.

Meanwhile, the Democrat Party pleaded with House Speaker Chuan Leekpai for a cannabis-free parliament as the use of it may cause fatigue and other health issues.

On Friday, Democrat Party MP Pisit Leeahtam said despite the plant’s delisting from the Category 5 narcotics list, parliament should be a cannabis-free zone, much like Mahidol University and all schools operating under the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).

Bhumjaithai Party MP Supachai Jaisamut, president of the cannabis-and-hemp draft bill committee, stressed that people who grow cannabis can only cultivate 10 plants per household. Those regulations will be fleshed out in more detail in the bill, he said.

He made the remarks on Monday after a spokesman for the committee, Panthep Puapongpan, said the majority of its members agreed to cap the number at 10 to limit the potential for abuse.

However, Mr Supachai said cannabis has useful medicinal properties and economic potential. His committee will invite international organisations to vet the draft to protect the health and safety of the public, he said.

Meanwhile, the Aviation Medicine Association of Thailand (AMAT) and the Air Force Institute of Aviation Medicine issued a statement yesterday requiring all pilots and staff working in the aviation industry to refrain from using cannabis as it can impede pilots’ performance.

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