Weed bud a 'controlled herb' now

Weed bud a 'controlled herb' now

Ministry scraps previous stance

The Ministry of Public Health has changed course and will now regulate the use and distribution of cannabis buds and not allow the sale of the buds to people aged under 20 years old.

The ministry's decision was made after the opposition Pheu Thai Party and its allies on Thursday filed a petition with the Central Administrative Court, demanding the nullification of the ministry's announcement which said that the cannabis plant is not a narcotic, unless its concentration of the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is over 0.2% of total weight.

Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul on Friday signed the amendment, which put cannabis onto the list of controlled herbs under the Thai Traditional Medicine Protection and Promotion Act.

He said the ministry seeks to control any use of cannabis that is not for medical use only.

According to the revised regulation, the sale of the cannabis bud to anyone aged under 20, pregnant women and breastfeeding women is prohibited.

It also banned sales via vending machines and online channels. Any trader, exporter or researcher must get the ministry's approval to buy or sell cannabis buds first. Advertising cannabis buds is also prohibited.

Traisuree Taisoranakul, a deputy government spokeswoman, said the regulation has passed a sub-committee on the law under the Thai Traditional Medicine Protection and Promotion Act.

The amendment was made following concerns about improper cannabis use, she said.

Supachai Jaisamut, chairman of the sub-committee of the Cannabis and Hemp Bill and a member of the Bhumjaithai Party, said the amendment will close some loopholes that had worried various parties while the bill is being worked on.

He insisted the new version of the ministerial regulation would prevent any misuse of cannabis, especially for recreation among youths.

However, Dr Smith Srisont, a committee of the Medical Council of Thailand, disagreed.

He said the revised ministerial regulation just controls the sale of cannabis buds. He wanted the regulation to prohibit the sale of all cannabis parts including leaves, and limit the use of cannabis for medical purposes only.

He said if there is no control, cannabis leaves can be used as an ingredient of food or snacks that might be consumed by the young. Some youths can also smoke cannabis leaves, Dr Smith said.

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