Tighter cannabis rules drafted

Cannabis plants are displayed at the Asia International Hemp Expo at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok in November last year. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
Cannabis plants are displayed at the Asia International Hemp Expo at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok in November last year. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The government is seeking to tighten control over the country’s nascent cannabis industry, revising a draft bill to prevent misuse of the plant after previously vowing to curb its recreational use.

A new draft of the cannabis bill, which failed to clear parliamentary hurdles before the election in May, has been significantly rewritten to reflect concerns that misuse of cannabis could lead to addiction, Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew said in a statement.

“Between economic and health benefits, we put health first,” he said.

However, Dr Cholnan did not say whether the government would ban the recreational use of cannabis.

The thousands of businesses that have opened since cannabis was decriminalised are anxiously awaiting clarity about their futures.

The revisions include tighter measures to plug loopholes that allow the use of marijuana for recreation, new protocols for cultivation and criminal penalties, the minister said. The draft bill will likely be submitted for cabinet approval in December.

The move to rewrite the bill follows Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s pledge to restrict the use of marijuana to medical purposes, after thousands of weed shops opened across the country since the country became the first in Asia to decriminalise cannabis.

An ongoing regulatory vacuum, following the delisting of marijuana as a narcotic in June last year, has led to a proliferation of dispensaries — estimated to total 6,000 — all over the country. They sell everything from cannabis buds to oil extracts containing less than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol — the psychoactive compound that gives users a “high” sensation.

The draft bill will undergo more reviews and the government will receive feedback before finalising the text next month, said the minister.


  • addiction: a strong need that someone feels to regularly take an illegal or harmful drug - การติดยาเสพติด
  • anxiously (adv): in a worried or nervous way - อย่างร้อนรนใจ, อย่างทุกข์ร้อนใจ
  • ban: an official statement ordering people not to do, sell or use something - การห้าม
  • cannabis (noun): marijuana; a drug made from the dried leaves and flowers or resin of the hemp plant, which is smoked or eaten and which gives the user a feeling of being relaxed. Use of the drug is illegal in many countries. - กัญชา
  • compound: a substance formed by a chemical reaction of two or more elements in fixed amounts relative to each other - สารประกอบ, สิ่งที่เกิดจากส่วนประกอบสองส่วนขึ้นไป
  • cultivation: the preparation and use of land for growing plants or crops - การเตรียมดินสำหรับเพาะปลูก
  • curb: to control or limit something - จำกัดขอบเขต, ควบคุม
  • decriminalise: make not criminal, so that people can do activity without breaking the law -
  • draft: something, e.g., a written proposal for changes to the constitution, a law, etc. that may be changed before it is finished - ร่างกฎหมาย
  • feedback: advice, criticism or information about how good or useful something or somebody's work is - ผลสะท้อนกลับ,การตอบกลับ
  • hurdle: an obstacle; a problem that you must solve before you can do something successfully - อุปสรรค
  • loophole: a small mistake in an agreement or law which gives someone the chance to avoid having to do something - ช่องโหว่ในกฎหมาย, จุดอ่อน, ข้อบกพร่อง
  • nascent (adjective): just starting or beginning now, being born or starting to exist now - พึ่งเริ่มใหม่, ยังใหม่อยู่, พึ่งเริ่ม
  • pledge: a serious promise - คำมั่้นสัญญา
  • protocol: a system of fixed rules and formal behaviour - ระเบียบการ
  • recreational: involving enjoyment - เกี่ยวการสันทนาการ
  • regulatory (adj): related to "regulations" , official rules on how to do different activities, usually made by the government - ซึ่งควบคุมบังคับ, ซึ่งมีอำนาจควบคุม
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