BANGKOK (NNT) – Parliament will renew a push for an overarching law on cannabis use for medical and research purposes, more than a year after the herb was legalized.
Last year, Thailand became the first country in Southeast Asia to decriminalize cannabis, but in the absence of specific measures, the government needed to issue rules to prevent its unchecked use, particularly among children.
The new law will target an industry projected to be worth up to US$1.2 billion over the next few years, with cannabis shops having sprung up across the capital Bangkok and tourist hot spots, such as the resort island of Phuket.
Saritpong Kiewkong of the Bhumjaithai party, which spearheaded the decriminalization and is now the second largest component of Thailand’s 11-party coalition government, said: “Cannabis will be – double underline – for medical purposes and research.”
The lawmaker told reporters in parliament that there is “no policy for recreational use,” adding that such measures were not yet being considered.
The draft law, which consolidates measures against public use that the government now relies on to rein in misbehavior, is expected to take a year to finalize and pass.
It covers permits for growing plants, sales and distribution, and tighter measures against sales in temples, schools and amusement parks.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin previously said he supported only medical, and not recreational, use of cannabis.
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced his ambition to put an end to the recreational use of marijuana within Thailand in six months, promising law amendments and stricter restrictions on the sale of the plant to ensure it is used solely for medical purposes.