New Thai law to reclassify cannabis as a narcotic

17/06/2024
Waving flag of Thailand

Thailand proposes reclassification of cannabis as a narcotic

Thai lawmakers have revealed a draft regulation aiming to reclassify cannabis as a narcotic, a significant change from its current legal status. Cannabis was removed from Thailand's national narcotics list in June 2022, a landmark move that was expected to boost the country's cannabis industry both regionally and internationally.

Initial impact of the 2022 policy shift

The 2022 policy shift allowed every household in Thailand to legally grow low-THC cannabis plants, with over 1.1 million citizens participating. At that time, the Public Health Minister announced there would be no limit on the number of plants that could be grown under the government's program. Additionally, the government distributed more than 1 million cannabis seeds to households that registered for the program.

Upcoming policy reversal

However, the situation has changed dramatically. The Ministry of Public Health has proposed re-listing cannabis buds as a "category five" narcotic starting January 1. According to the draft rules published recently, other parts of the plant, such as roots and leaves, will remain legal.

The ministry is accepting public feedback on this proposal until June 25. Health Minister Somsak Thepsutin stated he would consider suggestions from both supporters and opponents of cannabis use.

Effects on the cannabis industry

Following the 2022 policy change, it is estimated that about 12,000 cannabis dispensaries opened across Thailand, employing approximately 60,000 people. These dispensaries operate under three-year licenses issued by the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicines.

The current draft regulation does not provide a grace period for cannabis businesses, which could lead to an abrupt stop for the industry. Medical cannabis will continue to be allowed, but details about its future regulation are still unclear.

Personal perspective

As someone who has followed Thailand's journey with cannabis policy closely, it is surprising to see such a swift change in direction. The initial policy shift in 2022 appeared to position Thailand as a forward-thinking leader in the cannabis industry.

This reversal could significantly impact many who have invested in the emerging market, both financially and professionally. It will be interesting to see how the government balances public feedback with regulatory changes and what this means for the future of cannabis in Thailand.

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Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen

Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen

About the author:

Robin Roy Krigslund-Hansen is known for his extensive knowledge and expertise in the fields of CBD and hemp production. With a career spanning over a decade in the cannabis industry, he has dedicated his life to understanding the intricacies of these plants and their potential benefits to human health and the environment. Over the years, Robin has worked tirelessly to promote the full legalization of hemp in Europe. His fascination with the plant's versatility and potential for sustainable production led him to pursue a career in the field.

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