Anutin dismisses bid to re-outlaw weed

Anutin dismisses bid to re-outlaw weed

File photo: Bangkok Post
File photo: Bangkok Post

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul on Monday dismissed a plan to return marijuana to Type 5 narcotics status, saying that would fall under the remit of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB).

According to Mr Anutin, the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes has, after much discussion and debate, already been decided upon.

"The opposition should learn more about the context of the proposed cannabis use and change their mindset about it now that the law has been issued," Mr Anutin said.

The minister also insisted that domestic cannabis cultivation will not increase use among those under the legal age of consumption as the plant is harder to use than cigarettes and alcoholic drinks.

"We have also prohibited the sale and use of the plant among minors. The prohibition behind the law should be solely dependent on their family," he stated.

Earlier, many MPs expressed their concerns about the bill and cited widespread recreational use of the drug among youths after the plant's legalisation.

Mr Anutin also stressed that rumoured concoctions such as cannabis cola or clustered flowers will never see the light of day if the latest cannabis and hemp bill is not dismissed.

The new bill will include a notification process, according to the minister, that will instruct producers and vendors on which product categories they can carry legally.

"We needed to issue the notification to reduce public and political concerns on the use of cannabis cola or clustered flowers for recreational purposes, which might lead to a tendency for them to vote against the bill."

"In the meantime," Mr Anutin explained, "the notification will strengthen investor confidence in their medicinal cannabis businesses."

Mr Anutin claimed that he has not yet planned to submit a proposal to the ONCB to include the plants on the narcotics list.

"Even though we have not observed anything untoward, we are highly concerned about the safety of users," he added.

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