Trials & Tribulations Of Thailand's Cannabis Decriminalization: Opposition Blasts Health Minister Over Lack Of Rules

Trials & Tribulations Of Thailand's Cannabis Decriminalization: Opposition Blasts Health Minister Over Lack Of Rules

Back in 2018, Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to legalize medical marijuana. Some four years later, it took the cannabis regulations to the next step and became the first Southeast Asian country to decriminalize marijuana.

While the country’s Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul expressed his enthusiasm about the new regulation in an unusual way — by giving away a million marijuana plants — not everyone in the country was so pleased about it. 

Soon after the new law was enacted, Thailand was grabbing headlines for its lack of cannabis regulation in the country. This week, the opposition slammed Charnvirakul, arguing he caused social problems and violated local and international laws by decriminalizing marijuana without adequate control, according to the Bangkok Post.

The chief opposition whip from the Pheu Thai Party, Sutin Klungsang, started the discussion by showing a video of Anutin’s election campaign promise that his Bhumjaithai Party would bring happiness to people by allowing them to cultivate the plant. According to Klungsang, that promise violated Thai and international laws.

Klungsang said that the new marijuana policy violates the United Nationals Office on Drugs and Crime’s Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, which the country supports. The main problem with Thailand’s cannabis decriminalization is the lack of laws to control it, Klungsang highlighted.

"The country could face international legal action over this issue," he said.

Klungsang, further added that after marijuana decriminalization was enacted on June 9, both cannabis and cannabis-infused products were easily attainable on the streets, that students were recorded abusing weed, and many individuals got ill and ended up in the hospital.

"Cannabis damages the brains of young people... There will be serious social problems," Klungsang, said.

To all this, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Charnvirakul replied that being too worried about marijuana use would lead to delays in national development. 

Charnvirakul apologized for some marijuana-related remarks said during his election campaign. He further claimed that during the tenure of this government there will be no marijuana abuse, expecting a related law to be approved soon. That law would set up penalties against those who abuse marijuana, and would also specify the rules around marijuana products, including cannabis-infused food. 

Minister highlighted that the government decriminalized marijuana only for medical and economic purposes. "I believe everyone understands that the proper use of cannabis for medical purposes will give people a better opportunity to be treated with Thai herbs," he said.

Photo: Benzinga Edit; Source: squarefrog and sasint by Pixabay, and NBT by Wikimedia Commons

Posted In: Anutin CharnvirakulBangkok PostSutin KlungsangThailand CannabisCannabisNewsMarkets

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