Cannabis detainees to be released with law change

Cannabis detainees to be released with law change

Legalisation of almost all cannabis products formally takes effect June 9

Visitors look at a display of cannabis products at the Thailand International Health Expo 2022 in March in Bangkok. (Somchai Poomlard)
Visitors look at a display of cannabis products at the Thailand International Health Expo 2022 in March in Bangkok. (Somchai Poomlard)

Ongoing trials and detention in connection with cannabis-related offences will be cancelled once revised restrictions take effect on Thursday, according to the Office of the Judiciary.

The production, import, export, distribution, consumption and possession of cannabis — except for its psychoactive substances — will be formally legalised on June 9 when a Ministry of Public Health announcement published in the Royal Gazette on Feb 9 takes effect, said Sorawit Limparangsri, a spokesman for the Office.

Cannabis-related offences that resulted in court cases and detention prior to June 9 will be cancelled, with any bond payments to be returned. People incarcerated in related trials serving jail time due to an inability to pay fines will also be released, according to the agency.

Mr Sorawit said court orders for prison releases would be issued after case-by-case reviews, noting that few related cases resulted in jail sentences. He asked that relatives of these prisoners submit requests for review as some may be serving time for multiple offences.

Defendants awaiting rulings will have their cases cancelled but will still have to appear in court to hear their rulings.

The Department of Corrections said earlier that the changes could result in about 4,000 inmates being released.

Those in possession of a criminal record related to the vacated charges will also have their record deleted from the criminal database, it said.

Under the new regulations, all parts of cannabis and hemp plants, except extracts containing more than 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the plant’s psychoactive ingredient, will no longer be on the narcotics list.

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