Cannabis delisting meet postponed

Cannabis delisting meet postponed

A Public Health Ministry narcotic drugs control committee postponed a meeting on Wednesday to consider the proposed delisting of cannabis from the narcotics list. It was called again for Thursday.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul did not give a reason for the postponement. Mr Anutin previously said a sub-committee on narcotic substances has revised the narcotics list on which cannabis no longer appears as a Category 5 narcotic substance. This will pave the way for households to grow the plant legally.

The draft list was originally scheduled for review on Wednesday by the drugs control committee chaired by public health permanent secretary Kiattiphum Wongrajit. When approved, it will be forwarded to the Narcotics Control Board chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam. The revised list is in accordance with the new Narcotics Code which took effect in December last year, Mr Anutin said.

Growers will be required to notify authorities rather than seek approval for every cannabis plant they plan to grow for household use, he said.

However, he said growers are still required to seek permission if they make cannabis products or make cannabis extracts, which must have less than 0.2% of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) by weight. The cannabis must also be locally grown.

Legalising cannabis to allow households to grow up to six plants was a key campaign pledge of the Bhumjaithai Party during the 2019 general election. The party has been criticised for failing to live up to its promise despite overseeing the Public Health Ministry for three years.

On Monday, a Public Health Ministry committee on the liberalisation of cannabis for medical purposes met to discuss legalisation of the plant, chaired by Anantchai Assawamekin, an adviser to the minister.

Mr Anantchai said the meeting drew 252 stakeholders, including herbal medicine businesses. They agreed that measures must be devised to prevent imports of cannabis and hemp from affecting small domestic producers. He said the ministry has backed the delisting of cannabis from the list, leaving only THC on the list.

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