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Thailand’s Public Health Minister Does Not Support Recriminalizing Cannabis Again

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Earlier this year Thailand implemented a historic law that dramatically changed the nation’s cannabis policies. Low-THC cannabis became legal nationwide, and literally, every household in Thailand became eligible to apply to cultivate cannabis.

It would be a major shift for any country, however, it was particularly impressive for a nation located in a region where people can still receive the death penalty for cannabis-only offenses.

A grim reminder of that fact happened recently when Singapore executed someone who was caught with cannabis. The ultimate penalty came after the person served seven years in prison.

Thailand’s new cannabis law is significant, and will hopefully serve as an example for the rest of the region to follow. Unfortunately, there has been some pushback in Thailand with calls to pull back the new cannabis policy, although it appears that those naysayers do not have a very sympathetic audience with Thailand’s Public Health Minister.

Below is a social media post from Khaosod English:

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnveerakul vowed on Tuesday to not allow anyone to criminalised marijuana again. Speaking at a marjuana, spa and tourism promotion event, Anutin said there will be a chain reaction affecting many businesses if marijuana is criminalised again as many business contracts to produce and market marijuana for medical purposes have been signed.

The minister added that even though the Marijuana Act has yet to be enacted, public health regulations restricted the use of marijuana for recreational purposesabd it must be regulated like tobacco as it causes adverse effects to health. Anutin said officials at the Public Health Ministry listen to those, including medical professionals, who oppose the decriminalization and will use their inputs in revising the draft Marijuana Bill.

Cannabis prohibition does not work. It is an inhumane public policy and a complete waste of limited public safety resources. Law enforcement should be fighting real crime, and the judicial system reserved for prosecuting actual criminals.

Thailand’s new approach to cannabis policy is still very young by public policy standards, and hopefully as more time goes by and the unfounded fear-mongering claims by prohibitionists will prove to be just rhetoric, hopefully then the calls for reinstituting full prohibition will subside.