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Thai government to reclassify cannabis as narcotic

Written by World News

In a reversal of the previous administration’s policy to decriminalise cannabis and hemp, the Pheu Thai-led government has decided to reclassify cannabis as a Category 5 narcotic, with the exception of medical and health uses.

Public Health ministry was instructed by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to amend its ministerial regulations to include cannabis on the list of Category 5 narcotics, to be completed for enforcement within this year.

There is an exception for the controlled use of cannabis for medical and health purposes, but not for recreational use.

This reversal of policy is a slap in the face for the Bhumjaithai party, one of the government’s coalition partners, which promoted decriminalisation of cannabis and hemp as its flagship policy during the Prayut administration, leading to widespread cultivation of cannabis and the emergence of many cannabis retail outlets.

The prime minister held a meeting today with agencies involved in illegal narcotic suppression and control, including the Public Health, Justice and Interior ministries, as well as national security agencies.

Another key issue raised by the prime minister is the law concerning methamphetamine, or “yaa baa”. He said that the current law does not specify the number of pills that can be considered possession for personal consumption or for trafficking, making it difficult for law enforcement to know whether to treat a suspect as a drug user or a drug dealer.

To clear up the confusion, the prime minister said that the law must be rewritten to make clear that possessing one meth pill will be considered for personal consumption and two or more pills will be regarded as possession for trafficking purposes.

Despite escalating efforts to crack down on illegal narcotics and the government’s decision to add the problem to the national agenda, the prime minister said that more illegal narcotics, meth pills in particular, continue to be smuggled into the country and remain readily available.

Srettha said that one issue behind the failure to stem the inflow and widespread availability of meth pills is that authorities are still unable to crack down on major dealers, as he urged authorities concerned to intensify their efforts to close down the ”big fish” and to seize their assets.


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