Cannabis loopholes to be closed

annabis plants are put on display at the Asia International Hemp Expo, held in Bangkok in November 2022. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
annabis plants are put on display at the Asia International Hemp Expo, held in Bangkok in November 2022. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The Public Health Ministry has completed the first draft of the Cannabis-Hemp Act and said it will not reclassify cannabis as a narcotic, Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew said on Friday.

Dr Cholnan said the new law is based on amendments to the first draft, which has 94 sections.

The new version has about 70 sections. It has been updated to address various public concerns or loopholes that allow people to use cannabis for recreational purposes, he added.

The core of the law still defines cannabis as a controlled herb, while any extract that contains more than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) remains listed as a narcotic.

"The minister still supports the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes but not for recreational use, so those who grow cannabis -- even for personal use -- must have permission under the new law," Mr Cholnan said.

The first version of the Cannabis and Hemp Law allowed a household to grow up to 15 plants for personal use, such as for treating some sickness. They needed to inform local authorities, but under the new law, they must seek permission first.

Cannabis shops that already have a licence can continue their business, but they need to comply with the new law, for example, by prohibiting the smoking of cannabis on their premises and not selling dried cannabis buds.

The law will also clarify which venues cannot sell or allow cannabis on their premises.

"We will not shut down all cannabis shops, but they need to comply with the law. The new law will not allow them to sell cannabis buds for people to smoke or even have equipment for customers to smoke inside their shops. In the past, we could not control the usage, but with the new law, using cannabis for recreational purposes will be prohibited," Dr Cholnan said.

When asked if smoking cannabis at home will be illegal, he said that remains a grey area pending more public feedback.

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  • amendment: a small change that is made to a law -
  • bud (n): a small part of a plant that develops into a flower or leaf -
  • comply (verb): to obey a rule, law, agreement, etc. or do what someone asks you to do - ปฏิบัติตาม (กฎหมาย, ข้อเสนอ, ข้อตกลง etc.)
  • concern: a worry - ความกังวล
  • draft: something, e.g., a written proposal for changes to the constitution, a law, etc. that may be changed before it is finished - ร่างกฎหมาย
  • extract: to remove a substance from another substance - สกัด
  • grey area: a situation which is not clear or where the rules are not known - สิ่งที่ซับซ้อน
  • inform: to tell somebody about something, especially in an official way - แจ้งให้ทราบ
  • licence: an official document that gives someone permission to do or use something - ใบอนุญาต
  • loophole: a small mistake in an agreement or law which gives someone the chance to avoid having to do something - ช่องโหว่ในกฎหมาย, จุดอ่อน, ข้อบกพร่อง
  • narcotic: an illegal drug such as heroin, cocaine or crystal methamphetamine - ยาเสพย์ติด
  • permission: allowing someone to do something - การอนุญาต,การอนุมัติ,การยินยอม
  • premises: the buildings and land that a business or organisation uses - ที่ดินและสิ่งปลูกสร้าง
  • prohibit: to not allow; to ban - ห้าม
  • recreational: involving enjoyment - เกี่ยวการสันทนาการ
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