Minister brushes off cannabis protests, high on reclassification
Minister brushes off cannabis protests, high on reclassificationLegacy

Public Health Minister Somsak Thepsutin downplayed the significance of protestors gathering outside of Government House to oppose the relisting of cannabis as a narcotic drug.

Led by Prasitthichai Nunual of the People’s Network for Cannabis Legalisation in Thailand, approximately 300 pro-cannabis protesters started rallying yesterday. Somsak acknowledged the protesters were exercising their constitutional rights and making their voices heard by senior government officials. He mentioned the Thai prime minister has not issued any special instructions regarding the protest or issue of cannabis regulation.

Despite the tension, the Pheu Thai Party minister affirmed the government remains open to the medicinal use of cannabis and its role in stimulating the economy. He assured business operators would be given sufficient time to adjust to the changes, minimising the impact of any potential relisting.

When questioned about the necessity of a bill to regulate cannabis use if the plant is relisted as a narcotic drug, Somsak stated discussions were ongoing and people must adhere to current regulations until any changes are officially made.

Cannabis was decriminalised in 2022 after the Bhumjaithai Party made it a key campaign policy ahead of the 2019 election. Decriminalisation occurred before the necessary legislation to regulate its use was in place, sparking concerns around potential substance abuse, especially amongst younger individuals.

A cannabis and hemp bill backed by the Bhumjaithai Party in the previous parliament passed its first reading but was rejected in the second. With the Pheu Thai-led government considering the relisting of cannabis as a narcotic drug, there is speculation that a law to control the plant’s use may be deemed unnecessary.

Prasitthichai stated advocacy groups would remain in place as long as needed to pressure the government into regulating cannabis use.

“If the government insists on reversing the decision, we’re demanding a public consultation process to be formed. It’s no worse than tobacco or alcohol and has medicinal properties.”

Deputy Prime Minister, Interior Minister and leader of the Bhumjaithai Party Anutin Charnvirakul expressed the government should consider both sides of the argument. When asked about the possibility of the Public Health Ministry only seeking to control parts of the cannabis plant (such as flowers), he redirected the question to the public health minister Bangkok Post reported.

The story Minister brushes off cannabis protests, high on reclassification as seen on Thaiger News.

Go to Source
Author: Mitch Connor