Thai Public Health Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said today to the Thai media that in his opinion cannabis cannot be reverted back into an illegal narcotic drug and he is not overly concerned with a proposal by cannabis opponents to try to ban the plant entirely again.
Our previous story:
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.
Today, (November 21st) Mr. Anutin, the main figure behind cannabis being originally decriminalized in Thailand in June, revealed to the press his thoughts about the meeting of Thailand’s Narcotics Control Board tomorrow (November 22nd).
Mr. Anutin said, “There will be two issues which opponents of the legislation of cannabis who are suing me will pursue, the first being a proposal to the Narcotics Control Board to revert cannabis to an illegal narcotic, which would immediately criminalize possession, sales, and cultivation. The second issue will be about the Notification of the Public Health on Controlled Herbs in general and overall regulations around the plant (cannabis).”
When Anutin was asked by the Associated Thai Press if the Narcotics Control Board will turn cannabis back into an illegal drug Mr. Anutin said, “If you ask me I have to say it cannot be turned into an illegal drug again. There are too many businesses, farmers, consumers, medical patients, doctors, and more relying on the plant for their health and their income.”
When Anutin was asked about some doctors’ opinions who have opposed cannabis legislation, Mr. Anutin said, “We have to rely on the overall government and public health policy. We are still following the law and public health regulations in which cannabis is focused on use for medicine, health, and the economy. We should listen and understand concerns and different opinions and come up with reasonable solutions to meet halfway, but suggesting total prohibition and making people criminals, wasting the resources of the criminal justice system, for consuming, selling, or cultivating cannabis again is not the answer to this issue.”
When Anutin was asked about the People’s Network for Cannabis Legislation in Thailand who plan to hold a protest and oppose cannabis prohibitionists tomorrow, November 20th, in which Mr. Prasitthichai Nunual is a representative, Mr. Anutin said, “Please don’t press too much and understand opponents of cannabis mostly don’t understand the plant and its benefits. Everything will be as it is now, I don’t foresee any decision that bans cannabis again. Millions of people have received good benefits from our cannabis policy in which they earn money and improve their health vs. those who have a negative impact from cannabis.”
TPN will give updates on the meeting throughout the day tomorrow, November 22nd, 2022.