Summary: The Public Health Ministry in Thailand has completed the first draft of the Cannabis-Hemp Act, aiming to close loopholes that allow recreational cannabis use while maintaining its status as a controlled herb.
Thailand’s New Cannabis-Hemp Act Targets Recreational Use Loopholes
The Public Health Ministry of Thailand has finalized the initial draft of the Cannabis-Hemp Act, which will not reclassify cannabis as a narcotic, according to Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew. The new law, comprising about 70 sections, is an amendment of the first draft that had 94 sections. This revision aims to address public concerns and loopholes that potentially enable recreational cannabis use.
The essence of the law continues to define cannabis as a controlled herb. Any extract with more than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) will remain classified as a narcotic. Minister Cholnan emphasized support for medical cannabis use but not for recreational purposes. Under the new law, individuals wishing to grow cannabis, even for personal use, must obtain permission.
The initial Cannabis and Hemp Law permitted households to cultivate up to 15 plants for personal medicinal use, requiring only notification to local authorities. However, the new law mandates seeking permission beforehand. Existing cannabis shops with licenses can continue operating but must adhere to the new regulations. These include prohibiting on-site cannabis smoking and the sale of dried cannabis buds.
The law will also specify venues where the sale or use of cannabis is not permitted. While the new legislation does not aim to shut down all cannabis shops, it imposes strict compliance requirements. The sale of cannabis buds for smoking and the provision of smoking equipment in shops will be prohibited. Dr. Cholnan acknowledged that controlling cannabis usage was challenging previously, but the new law aims to restrict recreational use effectively.
The legality of smoking cannabis at home remains a grey area, pending further public feedback.
Why It Matters: This development is significant as it represents Thailand’s efforts to regulate cannabis use more stringently, balancing medicinal benefits with concerns over recreational abuse. The new law aims to tighten control over cannabis cultivation and sale, reflecting the government’s cautious approach towards cannabis legalization.
Potential Implications: The Cannabis-Hemp Act could lead to a more regulated cannabis market in Thailand, potentially impacting both consumers and businesses. It may also influence other countries in the region considering cannabis legislation, setting a precedent for balancing medicinal use with strict recreational controls.
And we would like to know how will Thailand’s new Cannabis-Hemp Act impact the balance between medicinal benefits and recreational risks?
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