Pro Cannabis Activists Mark Two Years of Legalisation, Begin Sit-in at Thai Government House Opposing Recriminalization

National —

On June 9th, 2024, Mr. Prasitchai Nunual, the secretary-general of the network for Shaping the Future of Thai Cannabis, and other cannabis advocacy groups of more than 300 individuals called for a protest on June 9 at 1 PM in front of the UN Office, preparing for a march to the Government House.

They aim to demand that the government use scientific processes to determine the future of cannabis regulation and to prevent its reclassification as a narcotic illegal drug.

The stage for a major protest scheduled for June 9th, 2024, marks the second anniversary of cannabis legalization in Thailand. The demonstrators marched to the United Nations Office on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, announcing their intent to file a lawsuit with the Administrative Court if the government reclassifies cannabis as an illegal drug.

Prasitchai emphasized that the movement aims to safeguard cannabis rights for the public. He stressed the importance of regulating cannabis through specific legislation rather than narcotics laws, which would restrict its use and make it accessible only to a privileged few. The demonstrators will reportedly continue their prolonged protest until the government issues the Cannabis Control Act.

He warned that reclassifying cannabis as a narcotic would potentially lead to higher prices controlled by pharmaceutical companies, drawing parallels to the situation in England where medical cannabis remains inaccessible to the general public. He also said cannabis would go widely underground and lead to corruption and problems like prostitution currently in Thailand.

The demonstrators argue that regulating cannabis through targeted legislation would allow for systematic development and flexible consumer protection rules. They criticized the government’s reluctance to adopt such legislation, attributing it to an unwillingness to grant rights to the people and prevent monopolies.

Prasitchai called for the use of scientific data and research to determine the status of cannabis. He proposed comparing the effects of alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis on health and society, and studying the impacts of cannabis legalization since June 9th, 2022. If cannabis is found to have scientifically and without a shadow of a doubt through peer reviews to have caused more harm than benefits, it should be controlled as a narcotic; otherwise, it should remain regulated under specific legislation.

Previously, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Thawatchai Kamoltham, the Chairperson of the Medical Cannabis and Herbal Medicine Program at Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University, also voiced concerns. He warned that reclassifying cannabis as a narcotic would complicate access to medical cannabis services, disrupt investments, and lead to job losses and a return to the black market.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Thawatchai proposed three recommendations: Do not reclassify cannabis as an illegal drug, Place cannabis under the proposed Cannabis and Hemp Act, similar to the Tobacco Product Control Act and Alcohol Control Act, and educate doctors and the public to develop new professions, such as medical cannabis specialists.

The original version of this article appeared on our sister website, The Pattaya News, owned by our parent company TPN media.

Goongnang Suksawat
Goong Nang is a News Translator who has worked professionally for multiple news organizations in Thailand for many years and has worked with The Pattaya News for more than four years. Specializes primarily in local news for Phuket, Pattaya, and also some national news, with emphasis on translation between Thai to English and working as an intermediary between reporters and English-speaking writers. Originally from Nakhon Si Thammarat, but lives in Phuket and Krabi except when commuting between the three.