Thailand’s Narcotics Control Board, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, will meet in Bangkok on Tuesday, November 22nd, to discuss proposals made by cannabis legalization opponents to make the plant an illegal narcotic once again under category 5.
Cannabis was decriminalized in Thailand in early June of this year but opponents of the decriminalization have been continually stalling final laws for the plant and looking at multiple routes to try to ban the plant once again entirely. Their latest tactic is to meet directly with the Narcotics Control Board to attempt to convince them the plant is a danger to society and make it an illegal narcotic once again.
If opponents of the plant’s legalization succeed it could immediately see possession, sales, and cultivation made illegal once again in Thailand and close an estimated thousands of new dispensaries and affect millons of Thais who are now growing and farming the plant at home and engaged in new business opportunities, potentially putting them at risk of prosecution by law enforcement.
Opponents of the legalization cite danger to youth, widespread recreational use when the decriminalization was meant for medical only usage, and religious reasons, amongst others, as reasons to re-ban cannabis in Thailand. They claim it is not political despite some opponents openly opposed to Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul and his growing influence before next year’s general election. Anutin was the primary champion of decriminalization of cannabis in Thailand to boost the economy.
Prasitthichai Nunual, a representative for the People’s Network for Cannabis Legislation in Thailand told the press that marijuana and cannabis supporters will be present at the hearing to make their voices heard loud and clear. According to Prasitthichai, if the plant is made illegal again it could cause chaos, putting millions into financial and legal trouble.
Prasitthichai suggested instead that opponents and supporters of marijuana find a middle ground that best benefits all sides and pass the cannabis laws currently set to be reviewed by Parliament on December 7th which would give additional protection and regulations for the plant, especially around concerns of abuse by youth.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister, Public Health Minister, and marijuana supporter Anutin Charnvirakul stated to the press he wasn’t concerned with the board’s meeting and that he had made it clear to Wissanu the massive impact making the plant a narcotic again would have on millions of Thais. Anutin has continually said that moving backwards on cannabis is simply not an option anymore.
TPN media notes that analysts widely expect the board to not make a decision on the plant and defer to the Ministry of Public Health, in which the next step and battle over cannabis would be the bill at Parliament in December.