Ganja remains on narcotics list

Ganja remains on narcotics list

Marijuana buds, including their cost and degree of potency, are shown in a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, California. (Reuters photo)
Marijuana buds, including their cost and degree of potency, are shown in a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, California. (Reuters photo)

The Justice Ministry has dismissed rumours on social media that the government was poised to remove marijuana from the narcotics list to allow scientists to synthesise substances from the plant for use in treating drug addicts.

Chanchao Chaiyanukij, permanent secretary for justice, said yesterday there was no draft amendment to the Narcotics Code approved by the cabinet last week that would remove marijuana from the narcotics list.

Both marijuana and kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) would remain on the narcotics list, he said.

Intensive research had concluded that drug addicts needed to be treated as patients, and there was no plan to provide them with therapies involving the use of plants such as marijuana.

Removing kratom from the list was floated when Chaikasem Nitisiri was justice minister because it was felt that keeping it on the narcotics list was a major cause of drug problems, Mr Chanchao said.

But the idea was dropped after it was proved that the main problem lay with the therapy for drug addicts, and legal amendments would be required to allow for use of the plant. It was not considered a priority, he said.

Mr Chanchao said although Thailand's measures to control drug abuse and the use of narcotic substances for medical purposes are not as advanced as in Europe, to remove marijuana from the narcotics list could do more harm than good.

The two plants are in fact used to a limited extent for medical purposes, which is done under stringent control measures, he said.

Somchai Preechathaweekij, acting secretary-general of the Food and Drug Administration, said no medicine had been synthesised from marijuana and registered with the FDA.

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