Thailand Proposes Stricter Cannabis Policy with Emphasis on Medical Use

Thailand Proposes Stricter Cannabis Policy with Emphasis on Medical Use

Thailand is poised for a significant shift in its cannabis policy, as announced by the Minister of Public Health, Mr. Cholnan Srikaew. The proposed law, detailed by the Thai Examiner, is set to strictly regulate cannabis, concentrating exclusively on its medical applications while effectively outlawing recreational use.

The proposed legislation introduces a stringent threshold, declaring any cannabis product with a THC level above 0.2% as illegal. This marks a stark departure from the nation’s previous more liberal stance, which saw the widespread presence of cannabis outlets.

This proposed shift reflects a departure from the policies of the former Minister of Public Health, Anutin Charnvirakul, who oversaw the legalization of cannabis and its integration into the Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Department. The new direction prompts questions about the potential requirement for a medical certificate to purchase cannabis and the strict adherence of cannabis stores to the impending regulations. Notably, the law explicitly prohibits the sale of cannabis flower, a cornerstone in both adult-use and medical markets in the United States.

The international ramifications of this policy change come to the forefront with recent cannabis seizures in Ireland traced back to Thailand. This raises challenges related to cannabis regulation and enforcement, and the Thai government must navigate its obligations under international drug control treaties, notably the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

However, the proposed legislative change is not without resistance. A robust cannabis lobby in Thailand, driven by the industry’s profitability, is expected to push back against this shift. This underscores the intricate and divisive nature of cannabis regulation globally, reflecting broader discussions and ideologies surrounding drug use and plant medicine.

As Thailand grapples with this transformative policy shift, observers are keenly watching how the nation navigates the complexities of international obligations, industry interests, and societal perspectives on cannabis.

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