Cannabis to be banned from state schools

Cannabis to be banned from state schools

Ministry frets about effect on students

The Ministry of Education plans to issue an order making state schools nationwide cannabis-free zones following the plant's recent decriminalisation.

Education Minister Trinuch Thienthong said on Wednesday she is concerned about the impact on students.

Ms Trinuch said every school affiliated to the ministry will be declared a cannabis-free zone and the ministry must ensure teachers and students understand the pros and cons of consuming cannabis.

As such, a discussion will be held with the Public Health Ministry's Health Department to obtain more details about the plant and any potential side-effect of using cannabis as an ingredient in food and beverages including cookies, bread and juice.

Ms Trinuch cited the recent case of a Thai man who died of heart failure after ingesting cannabis.

Later, the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) will instruct offices in educational service areas to strictly contain the use of cannabis in schools, with standards to certify its use as an ingredient in food and drinks, she said.

The move is supported by Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt, who said schools affiliated with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) have a responsibility to ensure students are equipped with a more complete understanding about cannabis.

Mr Chadchart insisted he does not intend to hamper the government's policy, but rather ensure the public's health and safety.

He referred to the recent cases of four people who were hospitalised after over-consuming the plant, although results of investigations into their cases by the BMA's Medical Service Department are still pending.

Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit, the ministry's permanent secretary, said it will expedite issuing preventive measures to curb misuse of the drug.

As the Cannabis and Hemp Act has yet to be legislated, the government may impose more regulations tied to the Public Health Ministry, Dr Kiattiphum said.

Since cannabis has been delisted from the narcotics list, parts of the plant can now be used for medicinal use.

Dr Kiattiphum said cannabis can be used to produce products that will help the economy rebound from the fallout of the pandemic.

However, people must be wary of using the plant for recreational use due to the potential risk to their mental health.

Any extracts that contain more than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the plant's psychoactive compound, are still categorised as illegal narcotics.

"Even though cannabis has been delisted, it has to be controlled. We've issued a notice to limit people from smoking it, as it could affect their mental health or cause traffic accidents," said Dr Kiattiphum.

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