The coalition Thai Democrat Party has threatened to scrap the Cannabis and Hemp Bill proposed by the coalition partner Bhumjai Thai Party after they said no amendments have been made to the bill.
The Democrat party also said they would push to completely make cannabis illegal in Thailand once again by labeling it as a category 5 narcotic if amendments were not made to the bill.
Several Democrat members led by Satit Wongnongtoey, Democrat MP for Trang province, said the vetting committee to examine the Cannabis and Hemp Bill ignored all concerns raised by the Democrats, the main government opposition Pheu Thai Party, and medical personnel from Chulalongkorn University.
Some concerns included the reclassification of cannabis as a narcotic, the reinterpretation of the use of cannabis for medical purposes in households, or the regulation to restrict the sale of tools to smoke cannabis for recreational purposes.
“Since the vetting committee did not amend the bill, the Democrats need to protect the people’s interest by voting against the bill because it is too lax,” Satit told the associated press.
He continued that Thailand is now seen as a capital of liberal cannabis by other countries and attracting cannabis tourism versus medical tourism, in contrast to the repeated statements of Anutin Charnvirakul, Public Health Minister and the main proponent of the cannabis and hemp bill, which originally said cannabis was for medical use only.
Satit said the reclassification of cannabis as a Type 5 narcotic could be done, meaning cannabis would be illegal again and all cannabis shops would need to shutter and anyone possessing or using cannabis could face extensive jail time and fines.
“I urge the public health minister to review the bill to save Thai society from becoming addicted to cannabis. This is not political, but it is for the sake of the country,” Satit told the press at the parliament today, November 2nd.
Meanwhile, Anutin Charnvirakul accepted a letter from cannabis and hemp bill supporters at the parliament today. The supporters said the bill should become effective as quickly as possible.
In response, Anutin stated the Bhumjai Thai Party would do everything in its power to pass the bill. He claimed the bill now has 95 sections, which has been increased from 45 sections by the vetting committee after taking concerns from other coalition partners and the opposition into consideration.
Anutin urged other MPs if they wanted to be good MPs, they needed to listen to the will of the people.
“The Bhumjai Thai Party has done everything we could. We do not fear those who threaten to drop the bill because they fear we will gain more popularity. It is too late to try to stop the cannabis decriminalization,” Anutin told his supporters and the press.