After initially pledging to limit cannabis usage for recreational purposes, the government is now attempting to strengthen control over the nation’s fledgling cannabis business by making revisions to a draft statute to avoid abuse of the plant.
In a statement, Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew said that a revised version of the cannabis bill, which lawmakers blocked before the May election, has undergone significant revisions to address concerns that improper use of the drug might lead to addiction.
“We prioritize health over economic benefits,” he declared.
However, Dr. Cholnan did not specify whether or not the government would outlaw marijuana use for recreational purposes.
With the decriminalization of cannabis, thousands of enterprises have emerged, all eagerly awaiting word on their futures.
According to the minister, the amendments include stricter steps to close legal loopholes that permit the recreational use of marijuana, new guidelines for growing, and harsher sanctions. Most likely, in December, the draft measure will be brought to the cabinet for approval.
The decision to amend the bill comes after Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin promised to limit marijuana usage to medicinal uses. Following the country’s decriminalization of cannabis, thousands of marijuana shops have cropped up around the region, making it the first in Asia to do so.
After marijuana was delisted as a narcotic in June of last year, there has been a persistent regulatory vacuum that has resulted in the growth of dispensaries across the nation, with an estimated 6,000 currently operating. They sell a wide range of products, including cannabis buds and oil extracts with less than 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient that causes consumers to feel “high.”
In anticipation of the May 14 election, the Pheu Thai Party mobilized a staunch anti-drug campaign, promising to reclassify cannabis as a narcotic. However, it has forged a partnership with the 71-seat Bhumjaithai Party, which Anutin Charnvirakul led during the previous administration and was in charge of decriminalizing the crop.
The minister stated that before finalizing the wording next month, the government will review the draft bill again and gather input from interested parties.