Bangkok, Thailand –
Prominent farming organizations in Thailand and cannabis business leaders are asking Thai politicians to stop what they call politicking over the delayed final cannabis draft law and pass the bill.
Prapat Panyachatraksa, president of the National Farmers’ Council, and Ong-art Panyachatraksa, owner of the Organic Phet Lanna Farma and a partner of the RG420 Cannabis Store on Khao San Road in Bangkok released their statements to the press yesterday, Monday, October 31st.
The bill, which would give much needed riles and regulations to cannabis business owners and farmers, has been held up since September after a coalition of mostly Democrats and Pheu Thai party members voted to withdraw it from current consideration.
As a result, cannabis is currently operating in a grey area with almost no rules and regulations. However, according to Prapat, this has caused significant uncertainty with business owners and farmers investing billions across the country into the emerging cannabis industry.
Prapat and supporters plan to submit an official petition to Parliament President Chuan Leekpai and leaders of all political parties on Wednesday, November 3rd, and urges the public to join him. The petition will call on leaders to set aside their differences and pass the draft bill, ending what Prapat calls politicking and threats to completely reban cannabis in Thailand and make the plant a narcotic once again.
Cannabis has been decriminalized in Thailand since June, but continual infighting between political groups over the decriminalization have caused the delay on the final bill.
Some groups, like Pheu Thai, have threatened to try to recriminalize cannabis but Prapat and supporters of legal cannabis say this move would harm millions of people who are now involved in the legal cannabis industry and cost an estimated immediate 50 billion baht to the economy. Supporters of banning cannabis claim it is not political but that they are doing it for people’s health and to protect youth.
Pheu Thai supporters of banning cannabis even considered a proposal to directly try to disband Bhumjaithai party, led by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, but ended the attempt in a single day after bipartisan anger at the move. Anutin was the main driver of decriminalization of cannabis, a core promise of the Bhumjaithai party.
For now, however, in the lack of set regulations and rules an estimated 300 plus and rapidly growing dispensaries, cafes, and cannabis shops are now open in Pattaya alone and business appears to be booming at many of them. However, with the lack of final regulations and threats to re-ban the plant, the future could go up in smoke.