Thailand in major U-turn on drug policy

Thailand’s new prime minister, Srettha Thavisin, says that his government will change its cannabis policy. The government wants to limit the use to medical purposes within the next six months.

Thailand became the first country in Asia to decriminalize cannabis after it delisted the marijuana plant as a narcotic last year. This led to a boom of cannabis cafes and weed shops in popular tourist destinations such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pattaya. But the failure to pass legislation to regulate its use has opened a legal vacuum in the country. Problems arising from drug use have been extensive.

Thavisin said in a recent interview, that there has been an agreement among the coalition government about the need to change the law.

“The law will need to be rewritten,” Srettha told Bloomberg Television in the interview. “It needs to be rectified. We can have it regulated for medical use only.”

When asked if there will be a compromise for recreational use, Srettha answered “no”. He added that problems arising from drug use have been “widespread lately.”

Some tourism operators have welcomed the move, mentioning problems caused by loose industry regulation.

Currently, anyone older than 20, who is not pregnant or breastfeeding is legally allowed to use cannabis. In many Asian countries, the use and possession of cannabis will resolve in penalties and jail time.


About Miabell Mallikka

Miabell Mallikka is a journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

View all posts by Miabell Mallikka

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