THAILAND TO RESTRICT CANNABIS USE AFTER DECRIMINALIZATION LAST YEAR

Jeremy Bouvet
THAILAND TO RESTRICT CANNABIS USE AFTER DECRIMINALIZATION LAST YEAR

Thailand's new prime minister, Srettha Thavisin, has pledged to restrict the use of marijuana for medical purposes after thousands of weed shops opened across the country since the nation became the first in Asia to decriminalize cannabis a year ago. The government will seek to "rectify" its cannabis policy and rampant sprouting of dispensaries that freely sell the drug within a six-month time frame. The law will need to be rewritten, with the aim of regulating for medical use only.


The 11-party coalition led by Srettha's Pheu Thai Party has vowed to undo the landmark policy to decriminalize cannabis. The country has seen an ongoing regulatory vacuum, leading to nearly 6,000 dispensaries selling various products, including cannabis buds and oil extracts containing less than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol. Thai farmers are also allowed to grow cannabis after registering with the nation's Food and Drug Administration.


The cannabis industry has been unfazed by the move to reimpose controls, as the medical benefits of cannabis blur the lines between health and recreational use. Classifying cannabis as a narcotic again risks pushing recreational use underground, where there will be even less control. Srettha's government has vowed to "eradicate" drugs from Thai society, with the prime minister promising to "decisively reduce" the menace within a year.

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