Hundreds Of Cannabis Advocates Rallied In Bangkok Protesting Government's Marijuana Policy U-Turn

Zinger Key Points
  • Hundreds of cannabis advocates gathered Tuesday in Bangkok to protest the government’s decision to reclassify cannabis as a narcotic.
  • In February, Thailand Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew said that a new bill banning recreational marijuana is being urgently pushed.
  • An advocacy group called for another rally on June 9th, which marks the second anniversary of the country’s cannabis decriminalization.

Hundreds of marijuana entrepreneurs, farmers and advocates gathered on Tuesday in Bangkok to protest the government's recent decision to reclassify cannabis as a narcotic, reported Bloomberg.

The rally was held in front of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific headquarters. Advocates, carrying "stop villainizing cannabis" posters, managed to collect close to 2,000 signatures for a legal petition against the government's move.

In May, Thailand's Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced the intention to re-criminalize cannabis by the end of 2024, reversing the country´s 2022 decision to decriminalize the plant. The 2022 decision made Thailand the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize recreational cannabis and the third in the world after Canada and Uruguay. Since then, cannabis stores have proliferated in Thailand, due to a lack of regulation.

New pressure from the public to reverse cannabis law came after the concert of British rock band Coldplay where attendees complained on social media that “the entire concert smelled like marijuana.” In February, Thailand Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew said that a new bill banning recreational marijuana is being urgently pushed to be taken up at the next Cabinet meeting.

“The new Bill will be amended from the existing one to only allow the use of cannabis for health and medicinal purposes,” Srikaew said a the the time. “The use for fun is considered wrong.”

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Another Rally Scheduled

Jerawat Tanyaprirom, a cannabis business owner said that the petition is to be filed with the Central Administrative Court against Prime Minister Thavisin. petitioners were asked to disclose projected financial losses they would experience in case of cannabis reclassification.

"If the government backed down, we wouldn't need to file this petition," Tanyaprirom said. "But we want to have this as ammunition."

"If we use the narcotics law, we will be putting cannabis back in jail and allowing it to be grown by only some groups of people," advocacy group Writing Thailand's Cannabis Future stated Tuesday.

The group is also calling for another rally on June 9th, which marks the second anniversary of the country's cannabis decriminalization.

Naren Tolani, owner of All-Time High Cannabis Dispensary emphasized the cannabis industry's impact on the country's economy, writes Thaiger. "This industry has developed into a massive contributor to the Thai economy, and forcing the market back underground will have an immensely detrimental effect on people's livelihood, and health, and of course will cause a major strain on the criminal justice system," Tolani said.

Under the proposed reclassification, marijuana for medical purposes is to remain legal.

See Also: Thailand’s Cannabis Reversal Intensifies: Advocates Want Government To Provide Scientific Justification For Recriminalizing Marijuana

Photo: Courtesy of Nelson Antoine via Shutterstock

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Posted In: CannabisNewsAll-Time High Cannabis DispensaryCholnan SrikaewJerawat TanyapriromNaren TolaniSrettha ThavisinThailand CannabisThailand cannabis advocates rallyThailand cannabis reclassificationThailand medical marijuanaWriting Thailand’s Cannabis Future
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