Thai talk show host prosecuted for criticizing weed policy

Photo: Markpeak / CC BY-SA 3.0
Photo: Markpeak / CC BY-SA 3.0

An arrest warrant has been issued for a well-known television personality now heading to court for criticizing the government’s move to decriminalize weed.

A well-known television personality said today that he faces imprisonment for criticizing the government’s decriminalization of weed.

Nattakorn Devakula revealed during the Wake Up Thailand talk show this afternoon that he was summoned to answer a charge of defamation for his on-air remarks critical of deputy prime minister and public health head honcho Anutin Charnvirakul.

“I criticized the people who legalized marijuana, and the police came to my house with an arrest warrant,” Nattakorn said. “But if I grew marijuana in my home, they wouldn’t come and arrest me. Is society abnormal?”

Coconuts has reached out to Nattakorn for comment.

Defensive Anutin says he was right to legalize weed

The 45-year-old former gubernatorial candidate said he must travel to Buriram province, home of Anutin’s Bhumjaithai Party, for a Friday court hearing.

Defamation is a criminal offense in Thailand and carries two years in prison and a fine of THB200,000.

In June, the Voice TV host and frequent target of the military-backed government’s censors, said during his The Daily Dose talk show that it was “immoral” of Anutin and Bhumjaithai to promote legalization, and accused them of promoting drug addiction.

According to Buriram deputy mayor Yuttachai Pongpanich, the televised remarks damaged the political party with defamatory statements.

In June, weed was fully decriminalized, purportedly for medical benefit. But it had the effect of enabling legal recreational smoking as well, which has come under fire from socially conservative corners.

Acting through its broadcast regulators, the government has censored Nattakorn’s comments in the past, ordering his show taken off the air several times.

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