The Move Forward Party (MFP) on Thursday assured registered marijuana growers and cannabis business operators that they would be protected, even when the new government re-lists cannabis as a narcotic.
The main objective of the party's plan to put cannabis back on the narcotics list under a ministerial regulation of the Ministry of Public Health is to allow all state officials, including police and the Office of Narcotics Control Board, to work fully to control the abuse of cannabis, said deputy MFP leader Sirikanya Tansakun.
Some new laws will be passed to control the use, production, growing, and import and export of cannabis, which is work left undone by the caretaker government, she said.
"I insist cannabis business operators and marijuana growers will also be protected and allowed to go about their business as usual as long as they have registered and have permission to do so. A proper announcement will be issued to ensure this," she said.
She was responding to concerns raised by groups of cannabis-related business operators and growers following the vow to list cannabis as a narcotic again, which the MFP made in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) it signed with seven prospective coalition partners on Monday.
Further discussions on the matter will be conducted among coalition partners when the new coalition is formed before any changes to the current legal measures used to control cannabis are proposed and implemented, she said.
At this point, business operators and marijuana growers who have registered properly with the government shouldn't be worried, she said.
Prasitchai Nunual, secretary-general of a civic group calling itself the Network Writing Thailand's Cannabis Future, on the same posted on Facebook an open letter intended for MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat.
The group called on Mr Pita to handle the cannabis issue in a democratic way, saying leaping to the conclusion that cannabis must be listed as a narcotic again will adversely affect medical cannabis.
Instead of carrying on portraying cannabis as an evil product in order to justify the move to re-list it as a narcotic, the new government should discuss more seriously and openly the facts about cannabis, as the public perception of it has now been misguided by fierce anti-cannabis campaigns by two highly popular political parties, said Mr Prasitchai.
And in the next step, all parties concerned should then be allowed to take part in discussions over which forms of legal mechanisms are suitable for use to control cannabis better, he said.