MFP has monopoly reservations about cannabis bill
The Move Forward Party (MFP) has reservations about a cannabis and hemp bill pushed by the Bhumjaithai Party, echoing warnings by a civil society group that it could bar small farmers and households from exploiting the plants commercially.
Taopiphop Limjittrakorn, a Move Forward MP for Bangkok, disclosed the party line at a forum discussing the legislation of cannabis yesterday.
The forum, hosted by the civic group, Future of Thai Cannabis Network, and the MFP, was held at Phranakhon Si Ayutthaya Rajabhat University.
Mr Taopiphop, who also brews craft beer, said the party supported people's right to grow cannabis at home.
However, it was concerned the bill may set conditions similar to the craft beer issue which could result in a monopoly on cannabis production.
"The party wants to listen to proposals from people but the Bhumjaithai Party's bill is a work in progress and may soon be vetted in parliament," said Mr Taopiphop.
He said the MFP wanted to add some rules to prevent a monopoly and encourage local authorities to set their own tax rates.
The party also wants fewer civil servants on a cannabis committee so as to include a broader spectrum of society, he said.
"The Cannabis and Hemp Act should be a law for all people. If civil society has another bill on the issue, we will table the proposal at a parliamentary meeting in the hope of delivering greater benefits for all sectors," he said.
Prasitthichai Nunuan, from the Future of Thai Cannabis Network, said cannabis' removal from the narcotics list should mean there is no need for any law on cannabis and hemp.
He said the bill says that those who want to grow cannabis to sell must have permission and pay 50,000 baht, while another 50,000 baht is required to produce products from the plant leaves or oil extraction.
Another 50,000 baht fee is required for facility certification.
These fees will be an obstacle for small households to make a business out of cannabis plants that they grow, Mr Prasitthichai said.