In a significant move by Thailand’s Public Health Ministry, a first draft of the Cannabis-Hemp Act has been formulated, debunking prevailing conjectures of cannabis being reclassified as a narcotic. The esteemed Public Health Minister, Chonlanan Srikaew, walked us through the redrafted legislation, a neat and concise version reduced from an extensive 94 sections to a digestible 70. This recast piece of legislation successfully addresses the gaping voids in the old act which inadvertently permitted non-parmacuetical usage of cannabis, while assuring public concerns about the same. Rest assured, the Public Health Ministry remains adamant in its resolution to treat cannabis as a heavily regulated herb.
The new yardstick, however, states that any extraction surpassing the threshold of 0.2% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) will be categorised as a narcotic. According to Minister Srikaew, “While we are still backing the usage of cannabis for medicinal applications, its usage beyond this is strictly discouraged. Hence, even something as mundane as personal cultivation of cannabis will need government authorization under this new law. Simple notifications to local authorities won’t cut it anymore.”
As per the previous Cannabis and Hemp Law, households had the liberty to thrive a maximum of 15 plants, exclusively reserved for potential medicinal usage, with the only prerequisite of notifying the local authorities. However, the new legislation calls for formal permission ahead of any such cultivation.
Cannabis establishments bearing legitimate licenses can persist with operations, albeit with absolute adherence to the laws in letter and spirit, inclusive of a strict no-smoking policy within their establishments and a restraint on the sale of dried cannabis buds. Chonlanan ascertained that the new laws would contrive a comprehensive list of places tabooed for cannabis sales or usage.
“We hold no intention of shutting down all cannabis shops willy-nilly. However, observance to law is of paramount importance. Cannabis buds, an earlier crowd-favorite for smoking, will draw a blank at these shops. Even providing paraphernalia to cheerful patrons for smoking in the shops falls under the ban. Previous control over usage was a challenge in itself, however, the new law assures restraint over recreational cannabis usage,” warns the minister.
But, the question of lawfulness concerning cannabis usage within your home’s comfort stays somewhat ambiguous. In response, Minister Chonlanan said that public feedback will play a vital role in shedding some light on this somewhat grey area.
As for queries regarding individual legislations for cannabis and hemp, it’s already on their radar. The existing statute treats hemp as a variant of cannabis, inherently low on THC levels, the minister told Bangkok Post.
The ministry anticipates setting up a public window of opportunity around mid-December for the public to peruse through this law and offer their valuable feedback. A fortnight will be given for people to voice out their perspective. After careful contemplation of these viewpoints, the ministry will consider further revisions if necessary before the final draft finds its way to the Cabinet’s table.