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Thailand to Back Down on Cannabis Legalization a Mere Two Years After Decriminalizing It

Thailand has long been an vibrant and exotic destination for travelers, with ‘turquoise waters, sandy beaches, and lush greenery to misty and verdant hill stations‘.

Thailand attractions also revolve around its ‘thrilling nightlife and unique cultural experiences’, and the country is often regarded as a sex-tourism hub.

So when Thai lawmakers voted to make pot legal, for many it seemed like the obvious development, and a welcome one, too.

But two years into the experience of decriminalizing the herb, ‘the country appears set to crack down on its freewheeling drug market with a ban on recreational use’.

Legal cannabis had the initial effect of fueling Thailand’s tourism and farming trades. But now, it is facing public backlash over the perception that ‘under-regulation has made the drug available to kids and caused crime’.

Associated Press reported:

“The Health Minister Chonlanan Srikaew said last week that he had recommended a draft bill to the Cabinet that would ban recreational cannabis use while allowing medical. The Cabinet is expected to approve sending that Parliament soon, but has not yet taken it up as of its most recent meeting on Tuesday.

A draft version of the law that was circulated for public comment in January would make using cannabis “for entertainment or pleasure” a crime punishable by a 60,000 baht (about $1,700) fine. It would allow medical marijuana, but didn’t give details of how it would be controlled.”

Decriminalization of marijuana in Thailand was a first on the Asian continent, defended in 2019 by the Bhumjaithai Party.

In the poor Northeast areas, cannabis was viewed by farmers as a new ‘cash crop’.

“Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul became health minister and an important member of the military-led coalition, pushing through a 2022 amendment to the Narcotics Law that dropped cannabis from the list of controlled drugs. Anutin had promised that cannabis would be allowed only for medical use, but in practice the market was nearly unregulated.

The Health Ministry issued regulations that made cannabis a ‘controlled herb’ that requires a license for planting or selling, as well as banning online sales, sales to pregnant women and people under 20, and public smoking. But cannabis can be purchased easily by practically anyone at many unlicensed establishments or online.”

Soon, Thai media was flooded by reports of drug-fueled violence and abuse. Many of the abusers were young people who were not supposed to have access to the drug.

The number of people seeking treatment cannabis-related psychological issues almost doubled.

Kalyapat Rachitroj, a lawmaker from the opposition: “We have no option but to put marijuana back to be classified as narcotics once again.”

However, cannabis advocates and entrepreneurs are opposing a radical rollback.

-Gateway Pundit

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