Researchers support cannabis bill

Researchers support cannabis bill

Marijuana buds, placed on the controlled herbs list.
Marijuana buds, placed on the controlled herbs list.

The Association of Researchers of Thailand (ART) on Monday submitted a letter to Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul showing support for the Cannabis and Hemp Bill and a ministerial announcement on cannabis.

The lettter was signed by 5,000 supporters of the bill and the ministerial announcement of Nov 11 that put cannabis buds and extracts on the list of controlled herbs under the Thai Traditional Medicine Protection and Promotion Act, and was handed to Mr Anutin by Dr Pipat Nonthanathorn, the association president.

In the letter, the researchers supported use of cannabis for medical purposes and opposed it being returned to the narcotics list.

Mr Anutin said the association supported the bill because it had found cannabis would be of high benefit if used for medical purposes and the promotion of health and the economy.

He reiterated that under the ministerial announcement the cannabis plant is not a listed narcotic. However, extracts must not contain more than 0.2% of the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and remain on the controlled list, as do the flowers, or buds. Mr Anutin said the announcement would take effect on being published in the Royal Gazette.

The announcement also outlaws street sales, being aimed particularly at vending vans.

The Cannabis and Hemp Bill was passed by the House of Representatives in the first reading. But on Sept 14 the House voted 198:136 with 12 abstentions for the bill to be withdrawn for a review.

The bill was supposed to have been deliberated in the second reading, but Democrat and opposition MPs from the Pheu Thai and Move Forward parties voiced opposition to the bill, which they claimed had been extensively altered during the scrutiny process after the first reading of the original version.

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