Bhumjaithai warned over cannabis poll promises

Bhumjaithai warned over cannabis poll promises

The Bhumjaithai Party was on Monday warned against its election campaign promise to "liberalise marijuana cultivation" as this would violate the United Nations convention on drugs Thailand has ratified.

"It will be a very difficult promise to realise," Viroj Sumyai, president of the International Narcotics Control Board, said yesterday at a seminar on organic bills on marijuana. The seminar was held at the Rama Garden Hotel and organised by the Ministry of Public Health.

Though the government has recently allowed the medical use of marijuana, planting it is another issue, he said.

"If Thailand wants to liberalise the cultivation of cannabis, it must leave the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and will stand to lose many benefits involving the trade and import of medicines," Mr Viroj said.

Currently, there are 196 countries which endorse this UN-sponsored pact.

"It is true some countries allow free marijuana planting, but that is against the convention," Mr Viroj said.

In the United States, for example, cannabis can be planted freely in some states which worries the federal government which wishes to remain in line with the convention, he said.

"However, the medical use of marijuana and moves to grant amnesty to those in possession of the drug for that purpose do not go against the convention," Mr Viroj added.

The Food and Drug Administration is holding public consultations on measures to control the production and trade of cannabis to help authorities draft laws governing possession of the plant and its use, its secretary-general Tharet Karatnaiyarawiwong said at the event.

The agency is also planning to issue laws on medicines containing marijuana extracts as well as who can make and prescribe them, he said.

It earlier pushed ahead three laws under the Public Health Ministry to grant amnesty to research institutions, doctors and patients who possess marijuana extracts for medical purposes.

The laws are expected to be announced in the Royal Gazette today, Public Health Minister Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn said.


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