Justice Minister warns against possessing products overseas

Justice Minister warns against possessing products overseas

Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin has warned people to exercise caution when using cannabis or cannabis-based products and likewise advised against travelling abroad in possession of either as the plant is still illegal in many countries.

"I'd like to warn about the personal use of cannabis. It has been reported for a while that young people have been hospitalised for overconsumption of cannabis."

He added: "No one should carry cannabis on them during a trip abroad or consume cannabis while travelling to a foreign country. Cannabis is illegal in many countries and possessing the plant carries heavy criminal penalties."

The justice minister also expressed his concern over Thailand's cannabis market, which is growing considerably.

Mr Somsak said it is noteworthy that the amount of cannabis seized by authorities so far this year has amounted to 50,622 kilogrammes, outstripping the amount seized in the whole of last year, which was 43,714kg.

The rise follows the earlier decriminalisation of the plant.

He also said some Thai businesspeople have invested in cannabis farming in a neighbouring country with supplies being smuggled into the country.

The minister said the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) reported a significant drop in the number of drug cases after the new anti-narcotics law was enacted in December last year.

Last year, the number of drug offenders stood at 350,000. Since enactment of the law, there have been 100,000 fewer offenders.

Meanwhile, the Thai Sang Thai (TST) Party has expressed concern youngsters might fall prey to cannabis addiction.

The party said the country was in a dilemma. While the Public Health Ministry's announcement has taken effect removing cannabis as a narcotic, the law intended to regulate its use and prevent abuse is still going through parliament and so has not been enacted yet.

Because of the current legal vacuum, as things stand cannabis can be sold or bought liberally yet without any real legal tool in place to prevent cannabis and cannabis-based products from being abused, according to Tidarat Yingcharoen, the TST's director of the policy centre.

She also said educational outlets should strictly prohibit the use of cannabis and take a proactive part in working with parents, communities and other government agencies to keep youngsters from being exposed to cannabis and making sure they are aware of the dangers.

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