Thai Cannabis Advocates Challenge Prime Minister’s Proposal, Demand Science-based Decision Making


On May 9th, 2024, Mr. Prasitchai Nunual, the secretary-general of the network for Shaping the Future of Thai Cannabis, responded to the Thai Prime Minister’s statement regarding a proposal for the reclassification of cannabis as a type 5 narcotic drug.

Previously, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin addressed narcotic issues and advocated for the reclassification of cannabis as a type 5 narcotic illegal drug.

In response to the statement, Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, voiced his opinion and raised concerns over the issues.

The debate should focus on the pros and cons of cannabis based on logic and information, not on one person’s opinion or politics, said Anutin.

On the same day, Prasitchai publicly revealed that the network insisted that in order to classify something as a narcotic illegal drug, it must use scientific information as an indicator.

Prasitchai requested that the Thai Ministry of Public Health release public statistical and scientifically factual information comparing the pros and cons of cannabis, alcoholic beverages, and cigarettes.

If the factual information based on science revealed that cannabis was mostly harmless and its effects were not exaggerated by opposing groups of people, legal regulations and final laws should be drafted specifically to control the use of cannabis in Thailand, but the plant should not be made a narcotic or recriminalized, stated Prasitchai.

However, the actual purposes of the reclassification proposal allegedly were to support a group of specific capitalists in the Pheu Thai Party, claimed Prasitchai. The monopoly on cannabis plantations needed a legal license authorized by specialists, for this reason, consumers must buy their products that are only set on sale in the Thai market, remarked Prasitchai, like certain alcoholic brands in Thailand.

The network for Shaping the Future of Thai Cannabis would address their concerns to the Minister of Public Health in seven days.

However, if the government insists on reclassifying cannabis unrightfully without indication, the network would hold a protest at the Government House on June 9th as the 2nd anniversary of the decriminalization of cannabis, stated Prasitchai.

Meanwhile, Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, who was currently visiting Phuket, publicly revealed to the Thai national media his further thoughts on the Thai Prime Minister’s Proposal.

It was inevitable for cannabis supporter groups to protest against the proposal as they invested a lot in marijuana businesses. To change the policy, the government should listen to their voices and consider all parties’ benefits, said Anutin.

Thai national media inquired of Anutin whether the changes would initiate conflict with the coalition government parties or not. Anutin said that the conflict should not happen as the cannabis policy was in the government’s stated policy statement to Parliament, emphasizing the use of cannabis for medical and health purposes to boost the economic value of the country.

To reclassify cannabis into a narcotic illegal drug, the proposal must pass deliberation from the Narcotics Control Board and the National Narcotics Board and get buy in from cannabis entrepreneurs and the public, possibly through a referendum, added Anutin. The people’s voices must be heard and banning cannabis based on one person’s opinion, even the PM, was not democratic.

Mr. Somsak Thepsuthin, the current Minister of Public Health, and other committee members who were also present at the meeting to discuss the decriminalization of cannabis in 2022 should review reports and reconsider why cannabis was legalized, remarked Anutin.

Anutin asserted that the Bhumjaithai Party had information based on facts for the Minister of Public Health for consideration. The government should consider the benefit of the public and proceed accordingly.

All parties considered the public’s interest, therefore, it was necessary to support each other. Cannabis policy was also in the government’s stated policy statement when the Bhumjaithai Party joined the ruling party. Although not every party member agreed with the cannabis policy, they must respect each other party’s policy as always did the Bhumjaithai Party, Anutin concluded.

Read a recent article on the network for Shaping the Future of Thai Cannabis movement.

This article originally appeared on our sister website The Pattaya News.

Kittisak Phalaharn
Kittisak has a passion for outgoings no matter how tough it will be, he will travel with an adventurous style. As for his interests in fantasy, detective genres in novels and sports science books are parts of his soul. He works for Pattaya News as the latest writer.