The health ministry plans to legalise cannabis for recreational use in designated areas as part of a new draft proposal.
Dr Paisarn Dankum, secretary-general of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said the ministry wants to maximise the benefits of the plant following its removal from the latest list of prohibited drugs (B.E 2564).
The proposals will allow the use of cannabis for recreational purposes in designated sandbox areas. However, there has so far been no guidance as to what will constitute a sandbox and which areas might be eligible.
"Of course, we won't be opening cannabis cafes any time soon, but there are many different models overseas involving legal recreational use that we believe would suit our social context to choose from," Dr Paisarn said.
He further explained that the committee on cannabis chaired by the Ministry of Public Health's permanent secretary will make the decisions regarding sandbox areas for recreational use.
Regarding home use, he said there would be no change in the law and it would remain illegal unless prescribed as a treatment for a legitimate medical complaint.
The Narcotics Control Board will today consider the ministry's latest draft list of narcotic substances and whether cannabis with concentrations of THC over 0.2% of total weight should be included.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said recreational use does not fall under his ministry's remit, which emphasises health and economic well-being.
Meanwhile, Assoc Prof Ratsamon Kalayasiri, director of the Centre for Addiction Studies, said that while she is not against the legalisation of medical cannabis, total liberalisation is a step too far.
"THC in cannabis has multiple direct effects on our body and brain that can cause mental health issues. We should be ultra-cautious," she said.