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Supporters of Cannabis Prepare Legal Challenge Over Policy Reversal

Supporters of Cannabis Prepare Legal Challenge Over Policy Reversal

In Bangkok, hundreds of cannabis entrepreneurs, farmers, and activists came together to protest the government’s proposed reclassification of marijuana as a narcotic, just two years after its decriminalization. During the rally held outside the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific headquarters, nearly 2,000 signatures were gathered in support of a legal petition to challenge the government’s decision. The petition, to be submitted to the Central Administrative Court against Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, aims to halt the policy change.

Jerawat Tanyaprirom, a cannabis business owner spearheading the signature collection, mentioned that petitioners were required to outline potential financial losses incurred due to the government’s reversal. If the government reconsidered its stance, the petition would not be pursued, but Jerawat highlighted the importance of having it as a potential tool to contest the reclassification.

Prime Minister Srettha’s recent move to reclassify cannabis as a category five narcotic has introduced new uncertainties to the local cannabis industry. Previously decriminalized in 2022, cannabis is now facing the possibility of stringent criminalization measures that would restrict its production, sale, and possession.

At present, cannabis is considered a “controlled herb” in Thailand, with no outright ban on recreational use. Numerous dispensaries have flourished since its decriminalization, offering a range of cannabis products containing minimal levels of THC. Most cannabis advocacy groups advocate for regulatory frameworks rather than blanket criminalization of the industry.

In response to the government’s plans, Public Health Minister Somsak Thepsutin announced that permits would be mandated for medical and research purposes, with recreational use prohibited under new legislation. Despite these proposed changes, cannabis cultivation for medical and health-related reasons will still be permitted.

The article also mentioned a forthcoming rally on June 9, scheduled to mark the second anniversary of cannabis decriminalization, emphasizing the ongoing advocacy efforts to shape Thailand’s cannabis legislation and future policies.

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