Senior officials insist cannabis won’t be recriminalized

A file photo of Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. Photo: Anutin Charnvirakul
A file photo of Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. Photo: Anutin Charnvirakul

The Thai government has no plans to re-criminalize cannabis, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Tuesday. 

Wissanu said the Narcotics Control Board has no authority to reverse the ministerial order that removed cannabis from the Category 5 narcotics list. 

His statements came in response to a meeting held yesterday by the board to discuss the current legal framework around cannabis, as some reports had suggested the board might decide to overrule the Ministry of Health’s decree.

Concurring with Wissanu, Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul insisted that cannabis will “never go back” to being an illicit drug again. 

Anutin, who was the primary proponent of decriminalizing cannabis, noted that there are both supporters and opponents of the issue but said the latter group’s arguments do not deter his stance.

“I listen to both sides and consider what’s best for the society,” Anutin said, citing the benefits that cannabis would bring to the country, from people’s health to the nation’s economy. 

There is an urgent need for a legal mechanism to regulate cannabis as soon as possible, Anutin said.

A proposed Cannabis Act is anticipated to enter the parliament tomorrow. A deliberation by votes, however, may take several weeks. 

Earlier this week, the Administrative Court accepted a lawsuit by the Medical Council and MPs from opposition political parties who want to revoke an order by the Public Health Ministry that effectively removed cannabis from Thailand’s Category 5 narcotics list on June 9.

Related

Thai court accepts lawsuit aiming to revoke cannabis decriminalization

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