Opposition MFP doubles down on prohibition

Opposition MFP doubles down on prohibition

The Move Forward Party (MFP) petitioned the Ombudsman on Thursday to seek an injunction from the Administrative Court to suspend a ministerial announcement removing cannabis from the list of narcotic drugs, pending a more thorough law on cannabis control.

Wayo Assawarungruang, a list-MP of the opposition party, submitted the petition to the Office of the Ombudsman asking it to suspend the Ministry of Public Health's announcement dated Feb 8, which resulted in marijuana being delisted as a Type 5 narcotic.

Despite the ministry's claim that it merely aimed to facilitate the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, Thailand has seen widespread recreational use of the drug, particularly among youths, he said.

"Apparently this is also proof of the ministry's failure to strictly enforce its Thai Traditional Medicine Act, which clearly states that marijuana is a controlled herbal plant," he said.

The manner in which the announcement is being enforced has raised questions as to whether it goes against the core principle of the narcotics law, he said.

Wayo: Blames lack of enforcement

The MFP's efforts to restore the previous announcement, which also allowed for the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, have fallen on deaf ears, said Mr Wayo.

More importantly, he said, how the use of cannabis is being controlled under the ministerial announcement in Thailand now may be in breach of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This international treaty controls the permitted activities of specific narcotics while regulating their medical and scientific use.

However, marijuana has now emerged as a popular food ingredient, and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has even appeared in advertisements promoting cannabis, according to Mr Wayo.

"I don't believe that anyone in medical circles ever considered adding marijuana to food as a way of using the plant for medicinal purposes," he said.

The opposition is also calling to scrutinise the controversial bill on marijuana and hemp control now being pushed by the Bhumjaithai Party for passage through parliament, he said.

Dr Narong Aphikulvanich, deputy public health permanent secretary, said the ministry is implementing five measures to improve the safety of marijuana usage, including educating the public about how to use the plant safely and monitoring all recorded abuse cases.

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