Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Raises Concerns Over Proposal to Reclassify Cannabis as an Illegal Narcotic Drug in Thailand


At 10:45 AM, on May 9th, 2024, Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, publicly mentioned the case of a proposal to reclassify cannabis into a type 5 illegal narcotic drug.

Previously, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin addressed narcotic issues and advocated for the reclassification of cannabis as a type 5 narcotic illegal drug.

In response to Srettha’s statement, Anutin voiced his opinion that in order to reclassify cannabis into a narcotic drug, the Thai Ministry of Public Health needed to study further as the decriminalization of cannabis was originally announced by the National Narcotics Prevention and Suppression Commission in the previous government in 2022.

Cannabis had clear reasons for decriminalization by the previous government when Anutin was the Minister of Public Health, however, there were no legal regulations followed to control the use of cannabis. Anutin had proposed the legal regulations which the first agenda passed in Parliament but the second agenda did not pass. Anutin reportedly told the public that not passing regulations for marijuana was based on politics, not logic or health reasons.

Since the first time cannabis was decriminalized, more than 6,000 convicts on cannabis-related charges were released and some of them were traditional doctors and patients who used cannabis for medical and health purposes.

Anutin added that if cannabis were to be re-criminalized Public Health Ministry doctors would need to show peer-reviewed medical evidence that clearly explained what had changed since 2022 and why cannabis should be a narcotic drug again and not to base decisions on politics or personal moral, religious, and ethical views.

Anutin also questioned if putting people who had done no other crime back in jail for cannabis usage was wise. Millions of people, notes TPN, are now reportedly growing cannabis at home and making the plant a narcotic again would instantly make all of them criminals with the potential to face major fines and jail time.

Whether the resolution to make cannabis a narcotic again would pass or not, it would be according to the Thai laws, said Anutin, and not on one person’s opinion or politics.

Thai national media inquired of Anutin whether the reclassification of cannabis into a narcotic drug would affect the Bhumjaithai Party’s popularity or not (Anutin is the leader of this party, which pushed decriminalization of cannabis as their main platform in 2022).

Anutin publicly revealed that the party members did as they promised to decriminalize the use of cannabis. However, it was the current government that was a policymaker.

The Bhumjaithai Party was betrayed by the government and people were greatly affected, remarked Anutin.

Anutin told the public that the party would inform the government that cannabis had advantages over disadvantages based on logic and information.

Clearly, any path to making cannabis an illegal narcotic again in Thailand will be a very rocky road with passionate feelings and arguments on all sides.

Kittisak Phalaharn
Kittisak has a passion for outgoings no matter how tough it will be, he will travel with an adventurous style. As for his interests in fantasy, detective genres in novels and sports science books are parts of his soul. He works for Pattaya News as the latest writer.