Cholnan signs bill banning recreational use of weed
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Cholnan signs bill banning recreational use of weed

Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew has signed proposed legislation regarding cannabis, emphasising that it cannot be used for recreational purposes.

"The new law will clearly stipulate that cannabis must be used for medical purposes only. It will also encourage the use of cannabis for a range of health benefits," Dr Cholnan said on Saturday after signing the bill.

"Regarding the using of cannabis for recreational purposes, there will be a clear measure to control and prevent this.

"The measure may come in the form of a ministerial regulation passed by the cabinet, or from a panel," he said.

If the cabinet approves the principle of the bill, it will be submitted to the Lower House for consideration.

Regarding a regulation by the Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Department which lists cannabis as a controlled herb, Dr Cholnan said the rule might need to be revised if it contradicts the new law.

"Whether the buying of cannabis will require a medical certificate or not has not been included in the bill just yet. This may have to depend on the enforcement of organic laws," he said.

But using cannabis at home for medical purposes must be based on correct medical procedures and research, he said.

Asked about the impact on cannabis stores, Dr Cholnan said there have been no such laws set to revoke licences for running legally-registered stores. But once the law is put in place, cannabis stores must sell only the parts of the cannabis plant that are deemed legal in Thailand.

Under the Narcotics Code, only products containing over 0.2% THC [tetrahydrocannabinol -- cannabis' main psychoactive agent] by weight will be considered illegal. Dr Cholnan also said the law, when it is passed, will help police capture those who wrongly use cannabis for recreational purposes.

Meanwhile, a Thai connection has been unearthed after a large drug haul was intercepted overseas. According to news reports, over €1.1 million (41.7 million baht) worth of cannabis was seized over in Dublin, Kildare, Westmeath, and Limerick of Ireland on Jan 4. Some 14.2kg of the drugs worth almost €285,000 (10.8 million baht) were found by revenue inspectors in parcels sent from Thailand, addressed to a number of areas in Dublin.

The largest of the four seizures, worth an estimated €500,000 (18.9 million baht), was made in Clane, Co Kildare. Authorities searched a home where they found 25kg of the drug and arrested a woman in her late 30s. Besides Thailand, batches of cannabis had been sent from France and Spain, destined for addresses in Dublin and Galway.

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