The Public Health Ministry has recently wrapped up the first draft of the much-anticipated Cannabis-Hemp Act. Contrary to widespread conjecture, cannabis will not be reclassified as a narcotic. Public Health Minister Chonlanan Srikaew explained that the latest draft represents a well-polished iteration of the original, having been cut down from 94 to around 70 parts. This revised edition not only addresses public unease but also seals the loopholes that lent possibility to the recreational use of cannabis earlier.
To clarify, the Ministry of Public Health maintains the core tenet of the law, which regards cannabis as a controlled herb. Nonetheless, any extract boasting a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration higher than 0.2% persists in being labelled as a narcotic. “While the minister encourages medicinal cannabis uses, he falls short of championing recreational usage. As such, even personal cannabis growth must now have formal authorisation under the newly revised law,” mentioned minister Srikaew.
Contrasting from the original law that gave households the green light to grow up to 15 cannabis plants for personal medicinal requirements, after notifying local authorities, the altered law insists on prior approval. Cannabis businesses holding valid licenses may continue to operate, but strict adherence to the fresh legislation is paramount. This entails a prohibition on cannabis smoking within their properties and a ban on peddling dried cannabis flowers.
The health minister has revealed that the law will delve deeper into outlining locations where the sale or consumption of cannabis is prohibited. “Not all cannabis outlets are to be shuttered, but strict compliance to the legal regulations is non-negotiable. This new law will ban these shops from trading cannabis flowers meant for smoking, or even offering smoking apparatuses to their clients. Earlier, it was quite tricky to monitor the usage, but this overhauled law will pull the plug on recreational cannabis use,” highlighted Chonlanan.
Replying to a question about the legal implications of smoking cannabis at home, the public health minister stated that this is currently a nebulous issue, the clarity of which necessitates more public feedback. In response to the suggestion of introducing separate legal frameworks for cannabis and hemp, he stated that that matter has indeed been flagged. According to prevailing laws, however, hemp is considered a form of cannabis, albeit one that contains low THC levels, as reported by the Bangkok Post.
Wrapping up his address, minister Chonlanan confirmed that the ministry has plans to open a public forum by mid-December, allowing citizens to peruse the law and provide their feedback. This democratic window will remain open for two weeks, allowing the public to air their views, after which the minister will consider the need for further revisions before presenting the law to the Cabinet.