The Ministry of Public Health will form a panel to study a bill on cannabis, insisting that cannabis must only be used for medical and health purposes.
Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew yesterday said a cannabis law is needed to regulate the use of the plant. The ministry will limit the use of cannabis for medical purposes only and will prohibit recreational use.
Asked about the cannabis and hemp bill sponsored by the Bhumjaithai Party, which passed its first reading in parliament last June, Dr Cholnan said the ministries will have a committee to look into details of the bill to see if it needs to be revised.
The ministry will submit the study to the cabinet which will consider if the draft act should be processed or scrapped, paving the way for a new one, he said.
"Whether we continue with the present draft or develop a new one, I insist there must be laws to control cannabis use," said Dr Cholnan. "Using cannabis for recreational purposes must be forbidden. The improper use of cannabis will lead to dangers for users," he said.
Thailand became the first country in Southeast Asia to decriminalise cannabis in June last year.
The government removed the plant from the narcotics list, with the exception of anything containing more than 0.2% of the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound that creates the psychoactive effect.
The aim was to promote its medical benefits and support a cannabis economy by pushing cannabis and hemp to be cash crops and allowing its use in food, fashion and cosmetics.
At present, regulations include no smoking in public and no sales to people under 18 years old and to pregnant women. Cannabis shops also must apply for a licences while those who grow cannabis for industrial use must also have licences.