Thailand Set to Recriminalize Adult-Use Cannabis, But Medicinal Use Remains

Thailand Set to Recriminalize Adult-Use Cannabis, But Medicinal Use Remains

Thailand’s health minister recently announced plans to make adult-use cannabis illegal again by the end of the year, according to a report by Reuters. This move comes as lawmakers aim to tighten regulations around cannabis consumption, citing concerns over potential misuse and its negative impact, particularly on Thai children.

Under the proposed legislation, recreational use of cannabis would be prohibited, with violators facing fines of up to 60,000 baht ($1,700). Additionally, individuals caught illegally marketing or selling cannabis products or paraphernalia could face up to a year in jail along with fines of up to 100,000 baht ($2,800).

Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew emphasized the need for regulatory control over cannabis, stating that without proper laws in place, there is a risk of misuse. He highlighted concerns that unrestricted cannabis use could lead to further drug-related issues in the long run.

“In the new law, cannabis will be a controlled plant, so growing it would require permission. We will support [cannabis cultivation] for the medical and health industry,” Cholnan stated.

Thailand initially made headlines in 2018 when it became the first Southeast Asian country to legalize medical cannabis. This was followed by full decriminalization of cannabis in 2022. However, the recent proposed legislation signals a significant shift in the country’s approach to cannabis regulation, with a focus on stricter controls.

The rapid growth of Thailand’s cannabis industry since legalization has led to a market value of USD$800 million within just six months. However, the government’s intention to reclassify cannabis as an illegal substance for recreational use has sparked concern among industry stakeholders.

Many cannabis company owners and operators are reportedly preparing legal challenges to safeguard the industry in light of the proposed changes. The potential recriminalization of adult-use cannabis marks a notable reversal in Thailand’s progressive cannabis policies, raising questions about the future of the country’s burgeoning cannabis market.

Despite the crackdown on recreational cannabis, Thailand intends to maintain legal access to cannabis for medicinal purposes. The country’s evolving stance on cannabis regulation underscores the complex balance between public health concerns, economic opportunities, and regulatory oversight in the rapidly expanding cannabis industry.

As Thailand navigates its shifting cannabis landscape, stakeholders and observers will closely monitor developments to understand the implications for both the domestic and international cannabis markets.

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