Lax ganja rules seen as toxic threat to kids

Lax ganja rules seen as toxic threat to kids

Groups urge partial ban, safety measures

Thirty three organisations have called for the government to regulate the recreational use of cannabis and ban young people from legally accessing it.

Ticha Na Nakorn, director of the Baan Kanchanapisek Vocational Juvenile Training Centre for Boys, and representatives from 33 organisations for child development submitted a letter yesterday to Bhumjaithai Party MP Supachai Jaisamut, who serves as chairman of a House committee scrutinising the cannabis and hemp bill, calling for tightened regulations.

Some members donned school uniforms and white face masks to highlight their campaign. Each hung a paper cutting of a cannabis leaf around their neck and crossed their arms in an X shape to clarify their position.

Ms Ticha said that since cannabis was removed from the Category 5 narcotics list on June 9, cannabis products immediately became readily available. She said this has concerned many doctors, scholars, parents and NGOs, who are especially worried about the impact on vulnerable groups, pregnant women, children and teenagers.

While a cannabis and hemp bill is now under scrutiny by the House, the public are able to freely procure cannabis-infused products, plants and dried flowers without any regulations, said Ms Ticha.

Moreover, no safety measures have been put in place such as banning people from consuming cannabis before they get behind the wheel of a car, or imposing limits on how much of the plant can be used in food or beverages, she added.

"We demand strict regulations on the use of cannabis either for processing, consumption, distribution or advertising. We also want the law to restrict access to cannabis among youths under 20 years of age, and to not allow people to consume cannabis and drive, as well as mandate clear punishments among other regulations to protect our kids," she said.

Mr Supachai said the House committee scrutinising the bill would take the requests under consideration. He said the draft has been accepted by parliament so any revisions must be carefully thought out.

The bill will ban the use of cannabis among vulnerable groups such as youths, pregnant women and people with mental disorders, he added.

Kiatiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Public Health, said the ministry supports its medicinal but not recreational use.

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