Govt touts 'healthy' pot
Tobacco Act invoked to lessen recreational use
The tobacco control law will be used to ensure marijuana is used by households for health and medical reasons, not recreational purposes, while a new draft law on cannabis control is being deliberated in parliament, the Ministry of Public Health said on Friday.
From June 9, when cannabis will be officially removed from the Type 5 narcotics list, the 2017 Tobacco Control Act will be employed in lieu of the Cannabis Control Bill being passed and taking effect, said Dr Kiattisak Wongrajit, permanent secretary for public health.
The main purpose of invoking the tobacco control law against the recreational use of cannabis when it becomes a legal product is to encourage enthusiasts to use it to relieve certain health conditions and promote good health at the household level, he said.
The Public Health Ministry's committee on tobacco control is considering extending its scope to cover pot smoking as second-hand smoke can impact other people, he said.
On Thursday, the ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Agriculture to collaborate in ensuring cannabis will be used for the reasons cited to support its decriminalisation, Dr Kiattisak said.
Raphiphat Chansiwong, director-general of the Department of Agriculture, said the department is now responsible for ensuring only high-grade species of cannabis plants are imported for growing in Thailand in the interests of quality control.
The department looks set to use at least three laws to control the import of marijuana seeds from overseas, namely plant control, plant species control and plant species protection, he said.
"Unless these laws are invoked to control imports of marijuana plant seeds, low-quality species will likely be brought into the country," Dr Kiattisak said.
Thailand already has at least 10 species of local cannabis plants to choose from and the department has produced over 1 million seedlings to supply to interested growers, he said.
In related news, one Lao national and four Thais were arrested and about 600 kilogrammes of dried cannabis seized in a police operation carried out from late Thursday until yesterday morning in Muang district of Bueng Kan, police said.