Thailand may ban recreational use of cannabis | World News - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Thailand may ban recreational use of cannabis

Bloomberg |
Jan 09, 2024 08:43 PM IST

The draft legislation is the latest attempt by authorities to regulate the industry after an earlier bill failed to win parliament backing.

Thailand is proposing a ban on recreational use of cannabis and hefty penalties on offenders under a new bill that seeks to end a legal vacuum after the country became the first in Asia to decriminalize the plant.

Thailand’s cannabis industry has been operating in a gray area, as the plant was decriminalized in 2022.(AP)
Thailand’s cannabis industry has been operating in a gray area, as the plant was decriminalized in 2022.(AP)

Smoking of marijuana and its use in any other forms for recreation will be banned under the draft bill that was published by the Health Ministry on Tuesday. The use of cannabis plant or its products will be limited for medical and health purposes.

HT launches Crick-it, a one stop destination to catch Cricket, anytime, anywhere. Explore now!

The draft legislation is the latest attempt by authorities to regulate the industry after an earlier bill failed to win parliament backing. It also meets Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s election pledge to restrict the use of marijuana to medical purposes due to concerns over addiction.

Under the proposed bill, anyone who smokes cannabis for recreation will face a fine of up to 60,000 baht ($1,720). Those selling cannabis or its extracts for recreational purposes face up to one year in jail or 100,000 baht in fines, or both.

Thailand’s cannabis industry has been operating in a gray area, as the plant was decriminalized in 2022 before lawmakers could agree on how to regulate the industry.

The new government is seeking to end the regulatory vacuum that has led to the mushrooming of thousands of dispensaries all over the country. They sell everything from cannabis buds to oil extracts containing less than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol — the psychoactive compound that gives users a “high” sensation.

Read more: Maldives president's request to Xi Jinping amid India row: ‘We need tourists…’

Under the proposed rules, advertising or marketing campaigns for cannabis buds or extracts, or any devices used in smoking will be prohibited. Driving while high on cannabis is also punishable with a fine of up to 20,000 baht, or one year in jail.

The government will also tighten licensing rules for cannabis planting, sales, exports and imports. Once the new rules take effect, growers will need to apply for a license within 60 days, while existing dispensaries can continue to operate before renewing their permits.

The government hasn’t moved to reclassify the plant as a narcotic again, which would have entailed longer jail terms and fines.

The public and industry stakeholders have until Jan. 23 to submit feedback on the bill. The health ministry may still make changes to the bill before submitting it to the cabinet, which will send it to the parliament for approval.

Discover the complete story of India's general elections on our exclusive Elections Product! Access all the content absolutely free on the HT App. Download now!

Get Latest World News, along with Latest News from India at Hindustan Times.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, April 22, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On