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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Sep 19, 2023  1 week, 5 days, 18 hours, 46 minutes ago

Thailand Medical Authorities to Review Cannabis Bill With A Focus On Medical Use Only

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Thailand Medical Authorities to Review Cannabis Bill With A Focus On Medical Use Only
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Sep 19, 2023  1 week, 5 days, 18 hours, 46 minutes ago
Thailand Medical: In a haphazard move last year, Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to decriminalize cannabis, signaling a significant shift in the nation's approach to the plant. The Thai government, recognizing the potential medical benefits and economic opportunities associated with cannabis and hemp, removed them from the narcotics list. However, this decision was not without consequences, as it led to a proliferation of unregulated cannabis-related businesses and raised concerns about recreational use.

Claims that liberalization of the cannabis industry would benefit Thai farmers and Thais never materialized instead there were lots of illegal marijuana products from the United States and Europe brought into the country by mafia groups with links to certain politicians and many of the weed shops in the country were owned by Chinese, American and British gangsters using Thai proxies and also by many Thai-Indian businessmen from the Punjabi community who are also linked to money-laundering, loan shark businesses and other illicit activities including online gambling sites, private card gambling dens etc.
In response to these challenges, Thailand's Public Health Minister, Cholnan Srikaew, has announced the formation of a committee to review the cannabis and hemp bill. The primary objective of this review is to ensure that cannabis remains strictly within the medical and health realm, with a clear emphasis on prohibiting any recreational use.
Many experts from Thailand Medical industry and also the general public are happy with this move by the new Health Minister in Thailand and are rallying to support him.
The Cannabis and Hemp Bill
The cannabis and hemp bill, initially sponsored by the Bhumjaithai Party, successfully passed its first parliamentary reading in June of the previous year.
This legislation aimed to regulate the cultivation, sale, and use of cannabis and hemp, with the overarching goal of promoting their medical benefits and supporting the growth of a cannabis-based economy. Under the existing law, cannabis was removed from the list of narcotics, with a crucial exception: any product containing more than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound responsible for the "high" associated with cannabis, would still be considered a narcotic. This provision was intended to distinguish between medical and recreational cannabis products.
Unintended Consequences
While the decriminalization of cannabis was a significant milestone for Thailand, it came with some unforeseen challenges. The lack of comprehensive regulations led to a proliferation of unlicensed cannabis shops and recreational use businesses, which raised concerns about public safety and the potential risks associated with misuse. Existing restrictions did prohibit public smoking and the sale of cannabis to individuals under 18 years old and pregnant women.
Though cannabis shops were required to apply for licenses, and individuals cultivating cannabis for industrial purposes were also subject to licensing requirements, there were lots of loopholes that ended up with only a few unsavoury characters benefitting from the cannabis legalization. 
The Need for Regulation
In response to the unintended consequences of cannabis decriminalization, Thailand’s new Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew emphasized the need for comprehensive regulation in the cannabis industry. He asserted that his primary focus is to ensure that cannabis use remains strictly within the medical and health realm, with no room for recreational use. Dr Cholnan stated that, regardless of whether the existing bill is amended or a new one is introduced, strict laws to control cannabis use are imperative to mitigate the dangers of improper usage.
The Formation of a Cannabis Review Committee
To address the issues arising from the current state of cannabis regulation, the Ministry of Public Health has decided to form a committee specifically tasked with studying the cannabis and hemp bill. This committee will meticulously examine the details of the legislation to determine whether revisions are necessary to align with the government's vision of a well-regulated cannabis industry focused on medical and health purposes.
Government Decision-Making
Once the committee completes its review of the cannabis bill, the findings and recommendations will be submitted to the cabinet for consideration. The cabinet will then decide whether to proceed with the current draft act or discard it in favor of drafting a new one that better aligns with the government's objectives. This decision-making process will be critical in shaping the future of Thailand's cannabis industry.
The Future of Cannabis in Thailand
Thailand's journey towards cannabis decriminalization and regulation represents a significant step forward in Southeast Asia. While the initial move was driven by the desire to harness the medical benefits and economic potential of cannabis and hemp, it also brought about unforeseen challenges related to unregulated recreational use. The decision to review the existing cannabis and hemp bill underscores the government's commitment to maintaining strict control over cannabis use and ensuring that it remains exclusively for medical and health purposes.
As Thailand continues to navigate the complexities of cannabis regulation, it faces the task of striking a delicate balance between promoting its medical benefits and safeguarding against the risks of recreational misuse. The decisions made in the coming months will shape the trajectory of the nation's cannabis industry, setting a precedent for other countries in the region considering similar reforms.
In conclusion, Thailand's journey toward cannabis regulation has entered a new proper phase with the formation of a committee to review the existing bill. The primary objective is to maintain strict control over cannabis use, emphasizing its medical and health applications while prohibiting recreational use. As the government deliberates on the future of cannabis regulation, it remains to be seen how Thailand will successfully balance the potential benefits and challenges associated with this significant policy shift in the Southeast Asian region.
For the latest Cannabis News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.


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