Pheu Thai joins critics of Bhumjaithai's free cannabis policy
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Pheu Thai joins critics of Bhumjaithai's free cannabis policy

Paetongtarn: Worried mum
Paetongtarn: Worried mum

The Pheu Thai Party yesterday vowed before a Buri Ram rally that it would eradicate all kinds of illegal drugs if it wins the upcoming election via a landslide.

Buri Ram province is widely known as a political stronghold of the Bhumjaithai Party, which championed the decriminalisation of cannabis.

Paetongtarn Shinawatra, Pheu Thai's chief adviser on public participation and innovation and head of the Pheu Thai family, criticised Bhumjaithai's cannabis decriminalisation policy.

Critics say the party pushed through its pro-cannabis policy without much thought for the consequences.

"As a mother, I do not want my children to grow up in a country where narcotics run rampant and cannabis is easily available," Ms Paetongtarn said.

"[Pheu Thai] will step up efforts in tackling drugs and ensuring drug users are treated as patients with care and support."

She called on people in Buri Ram to dare to make a change by voting for her party and giving it a clean sweep.

"Do people in Buri Ram dare to vote for Pheu Thai and make changes? Give us a clean sweep," she told a gathering of supporters at the party's coordination centre in Prakhon Chai district.

Ten seats are up for grabs in Buri Ram. The party's stalwarts, including leader Cholnan Srikaew and spokesman Adisorn Piangkate, also addressed the crowd.

Dr Cholnan urged supporters to help Pheu Thai win via a landslide and remove the Senate's power to co-elect the prime minister.

Meanwhile, Mr Adisorn said that if Pheu Thai won, the 30-baht universal healthcare scheme implemented by the Thai Rak Thai administration would be improved. "Our party doesn't support recreational use of cannabis -- only use for medical purposes," he said. "We support only policies that promote health and welfare. We don't promote drugs."

However, the changes in Buri Ram would hinge on Pheu Thai's landslide win.

In a media interview, Ms Paetongtarn said the party's anti-drug policy is a national agenda item but the party found the drug problem is particularly rampant in Buri Ram.

Ms Paetongtarn, who is poised to become one of Pheu Thai's prime ministerial candidates, said she was overwhelmed by the local support she received and stressed that every province is important to the party. Asked about Bhumjaithai's policies and key people, Dr Cholnan said the party would point out the facts and possible impacts on the people.

He refused to discuss a possible post-election alliance, saying the party respects the people's decision, which will help decide its political future.

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