Thai Prime Minister Addresses Cannabis Reclassification Concerns Amidst Coalition Government Tensions


On May 11th, 2024, Mr. Srettha Thavisin, the Thai Prime Minister currently visiting Kanchanaburi, told the public about the rumors that the proposed reclassification of cannabis into a narcotic illegal drug could potentially cause internal conflict among the coalition government parties.

TPN covered the full story here regarding the Thai Prime Minister’s proposal to criminalize and restrict the use of cannabis, raising concerns among pro-cannabis supporters.

According to Thai national media, Srettha reportedly told the public that he had not talked things out yet with Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, the Minister of the Interior, however, there was no alleged personal conflict of interest. All parties had a right to express their opinion and Thai people must come first, said Srettha.

If cannabis was criminalized as a narcotic illegal drug, to use cannabis for medical and health purposes, relevant agencies must study the details, added Srettha. However, the Thai Minister of Public Health Somsak Thepsuthin would address the issues to the public further, remarked Srettha.

Previously, Srettha posted grateful messages on X to thank Anutin after his statements on the matter, where Anutin said he supported protesters’ right to protest. Srettha asserted that there would be no internal conflict among the coalition government parties.

Moreover, Srettha reportedly admitted that he had discussed matters with Somsak to review old reports as the parliament had approved the decriminalization of cannabis in 2022.

Srettha seemed to take a step backward from his previous hardline statements about firmly making cannabis an illegal narcotic again, saying that Somsak and the Department of Public Health would meet with all parties involved, review scientific and medical evidence on marijuana, and make any changes based on what the Thai people wanted overall.

He also stated that he would leave further official announcements and statements about any changes to cannabis to the Public Health Minister.

The step backward is not a surprise as Thai pro-cannabis activists have vowed street protests and vigorous legal action if the Thai government chooses to make cannabis illegal once again, with a strong showing of support for the activists online overall.

The change must not conflict with the interest of other parties and the Thai people must come first, emphasized Srettha on X.

Meanwhile, on May 12th, Thai national media inspected a community enterprise marijuana plantation in Mueang, Nakhon Ratchasima, and found that more than 90% of the place was empty.

Mr. Montree Yiamsungnoen, the Chairman of the Korat Cannabis Lovers Community Enterprise Network, publicly revealed that after the decriminalization of cannabis in 2022, more than 1.1 million people registered to receive the rights to own and cultivate marijuana.

As a result, the Community Enterprise Network which previously signed an MOU with the public sector for legal permission to cultivate cannabis, totaling 14,000 individuals across Thailand, was greatly affected as marijuana was flooding the market, said Montree.

An expected initial price for cannabis inflorescences was set at more than 100,000 baht per kilogram, however, the current price was 5,000 baht per kilogram, remarked Montree.

The Community Enterprise Network was struggling and had no choice but to leave 90% of the area empty as agricultural products could hardly be sold in the market. Montree pleaded with the government to compensate for the damage from the decriminalization policy of cannabis.

Regarding the proposal to reclassify cannabis into a narcotic illegal drug, Montree strongly supported the proposal as the number of cannabis vendors in the market would drastically decrease other than certain government-licensed farms like his own and the market price would gradually recover. However, the government’s marketing support was indeed needed especially in the medical and international markets, said Montree.

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.