Weed let-off proposal to move ahead
published : 23 Feb 2019 at 04:00
newspaper section: News
writer: Apinya Wipatayotin
An amnesty proposal for marijuana possession is expected to be published in the Royal Gazette next week, according to Tharet Karatnaiyarawiwong, secretary-general of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
This is part of a new set of policies in the drafting of organic laws under the 2019 Narcotics Act.
The amnesty proposal would require those in possession of the plant to report to authorities within 90 days, Mr Tharet said yesterday.
He added that a committee on narcotic drugs has approved the amnesty proposals, and the drafts have been revised and are set to be forwarded to the public health minister for approval.
The proposal would give amnesty to research institutes as well as patients with certificates from practitioners of traditional Thai and modern medicines who can use the plant for healing purposes.
The same committee that drafted the amnesty proposal has also approved other drafts in connection with the new narcotics law. However, both drafts will be tabled for public comment on Tuesday.
One draft includes a ministerial ordinance governing the production, import, export and possession of marijuana. Another puts forth an ordinance regulating traditional Thai medicine recipes that use marijuana as an ingredient.
The proposals follow the passage of the Narcotics Act, which eases the 40-year restriction on marijuana and allows it to be used legally for medical purposes.
Dr Tharet insisted that under the amendments, marijuana cultivation is still not legal.
Meanwhile, Panthep Puapongpan, dean of Rangsit University's Institute of Integrative and Anti-Ageing Medicine, yesterday expressed concerns about a fresh patent row over marijuana extracts.
He said there is a possibility that two major pharmaceutical companies would appeal the Department of Intellectual Property's (DIP) rejection of their requests to patent marijuana extracts now that the new drug law has come into effect.
According to Mr Panthep, the firms have 60 days to appeal the DIP's rejections, otherwise they will be considered final and binding.
The rejections were based on an order issued by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), No.1/2562, which came into effect in late January.
The order says marijuana is a narcotic drug, which is the basis for the rejection of patent requests.
"They may appeal citing the new drug law, so the basis for the rejection of their request may no longer be valid because marijuana can be used for medical purposes," he added.