The government has issued new rules to limit access to marijuana and hemp to people at least 20 years of age, after the decriminalisation of cannabis since June 9 sparked many complaints.
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul signed the regulations on Thursday to designate marijuana and hemp as controlled plants. Those under the age of 20 won’t be allowed to own and use the plants, both of which are in the cannabis family, unless they have permission from doctors, he said.
The moves followed local reports that four males, including students aged 16 and 17 years, were admitted to hospitals in Bangkok this week for treatment of what was defined as a cannabis overdose. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has said it also plans to ban cannabis in schools.
The government will also issue rules to limit or prohibit cannabis consumption in public and control cannabis in food. These rules will be tools for officials to control and prevent any misuse, Mr Anutin said.
Under the regulations proposed by the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, cannabis use is banned in public places, such as educational institutions, department stores and state agencies, and use of marijuana during pregnancy and after birth is also prohibited.
“We have not mentioned the use of its bud, particularly its use in food," the public health minister said. "So far, we have the law on the THC content."
The law considers low THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) to be 0.2% by weight or lower. A higher percentage for cannabis and hemp extracts - although not the plant itself - is still illegal. THC is the main psychoactive compound in marijuana, which is what makes people feel high.
Mr Anutin said the regulations also consider the fumes from smoking pot a disturbance.
The Department of Health has issued guidelines on the use of cannabis in cooking.
People should not consume more than two meals containing cannabis each day. Overconsumption of cannabis can lead to brain damage, and cannabis use among children can affect the developing brain, according to the guidelines.