Government delays approval of cannabis ban legislation

Government delays approval of cannabis ban legislation

A cannabis shop operating in the Khao San Road area, one of Bangkok's popular tourist destinations. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
A cannabis shop operating in the Khao San Road area, one of Bangkok's popular tourist destinations. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The government delayed the approval of a draft bill that would ban the recreational use of cannabis as it needs more opinions from other parties, Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew said after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Public Health could not submit the bill to the cabinet on Tuesday because more time is needed to seek views, Mr Cholnan said. 

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin pledged to limit cannabis only for medical and health-related use during the May 2023 election campaign on concerns over addiction. The previous administration implemented landmark legislation in the mid-2022, propelling Thailand to become the first country in Asia to decriminalise cannabis and enabling thousands of marijuana and weed-related shops to open.

Last week, Mr Cholnan said the revised cannabis and hemp control bill preserves the key point that the drug is to be used for medical treatment only, but it will also state clearly that any use for recreational purposes will not be allowed.

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