Thai Public Health Minister reiterates no going backward on cannabis decriminalization or reclassifying the plant as an illegal narcotic

Bangkok –

Thai Public Health Minister and Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul further responded to the opposition parties’ statement to scrap the public health’s current marijuana and hemp bill and recategorize the plant as a narcotic drug until the Draft Bill was enacted, which could be months due to the current standoff.

Anutin stated that reclassifying cannabis as a narcotic cannot be done and that the temporary laws governing marijuana, such as a ban on sales for those under the age of twenty, were already properly implemented after a resolution from the Narcotics Control Board (NACC), as proposed to the Minister of Public Health.

Anutin stated: “We already have Public Health regulations for marijuana that is still in effect, such as regulations prohibiting smoking in public under nuisance smoking ordinances. We already prepared an objection to end the current decriminalization period or reclassifying cannabis as a narcotic when the Draft Bill was proposed in Parliament. This is one of the reasons why the Public Health Ministry has to expedite the draft law announcement on marijuana use.”

“If we reclassified cannabis as a narcotic, even temporarily, bringing back possible extended jail sentences and extensive fines, then do we have to put all previously released prisoners charged in marijuana-related cases in jail again? Would we be chasing down the millions of Thais with one plant and throwing them in jail? Would we have to shut down every plantation in the country, regardless of usage or purpose, affecting over a million Thais? Would tens of thousands of new businesses need to shut, putting Thais out of work? Would these people then also be criminals, even temporarily? And, there would be many more things to be reinterpreted if we listened to the opposition and made cannabis a narcotic again. Going backward is not an option.”

Anutin also told the Associated Press that he would meet the Deputy Leader of the Democrat Party, Satit Pitutacha, following the deputy leader’s appointment to create a mutual understanding following the conflict between the Bhumjaithai Party and the Democratic Party on the Cannabis and Hemp Draft Act.

Anutin told the Associated Press that there were no personal disagreements but it was rather about the decision of each political party.

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