Cholnan Srikaew, the public health minister, announced on Friday that the Public Health Ministry has finished the first draft of the Cannabis-Hemp Act and that it will not reclassify cannabis as a narcotic.
Dr. Cholnan stated that the first proposal, which contained 94 parts, was amended to create the new law.
About 70 pieces make up the new edition. He said that it has been amended to meet a number of public concerns or legal loopholes that permit the recreational use of cannabis.
Cannabis is still classified as a controlled herb under the law’s basic definition, and any extract containing more than 0.2% THC is still classified as a narcotic.
“The minister still supports the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes but not for recreational use, so those who grow cannabis — even for personal use — must have permission under the new law,” stated Minister Cholnan.
A household was permitted to grow up to 15 plants for personal purposes, such as curing certain illnesses, under the original Cannabis and Hemp Law. All they had to do was notify the local authorities; however, the new law required them to get permission beforehand.
Cannabis stores that now hold a license are allowed to keep operating, but they must abide by the new legislation, which forbids them from selling dried cannabis buds and forbids smoking cannabis on the property.
The regulation will also make it clear which establishments cannot sell cannabis or permit it on their property.
“While we won’t close every cannabis store, they must abide by the law. The new rule prohibits them from offering cannabis buds for sale or even having smoking accessories in their establishments. Previously, we were unable to regulate its use, but the new law will make it illegal to use cannabis for recreational purposes,” he stated.
When questioned whether it will be unlawful to smoke cannabis at home, he indicated it was still up in the air pending additional input from the general population.
He stated that the question of whether hemp and cannabis should be subject to different legislation has been brought up. He pointed out that hemp is still classified as a type of cannabis under the present legislation, albeit one with a low THC content.
By mid-December, he added, the ministry will set up a time for the general public to review the bill and offer comments. Before sending the bill to the cabinet, the minister will analyze if it needs to be updated after giving the public two weeks to voice their comments.