On February 6th, 2024, Dr. Cholnan Srikaew, the Thai Minister of Public Health, publicly stated that the new Cannabis and Hemp bill is ready to be presented at the Thai cabinet meeting next week.
The new Cannabis and Hemp bill was previously discussed among activists on content that needed clarity from the Thai government.
Dr. Cholnan publicly revealed the content of the new bill and said that it was amended to be in line with the main objective of the current government’s policy statement to Parliament, only allowing marijuana to be used for medical and health purposes.
The content revealed that if marijuana was used in other unrelated ways such as recreational and entertainment purposes, it was considered misuse and could lead to legal penalties and fines, remarked Dr. Cholnan. One proposed fine for recreational use is 60,000 Baht, notes TPN Media.
As for the definition of what law enforcement and officials would consider recreational use, Dr. Cholnan said that if people are using marijuana for “fun and enjoyment” that would be considered recreational.
Meanwhile, cannabis shops promoting the use of marijuana are not illegal as long as they operate under government permission to use it for medical and health purposes only. However, the word “for health” was very vague and beverages that contained cannabis sold in convenience stores would need to provide proof of whether they were used for health reasons or not, said Dr. Cholnan.
Dr. Cholnan also mentioned a case at the latest Coldplay concert in Rajamangala Stadium, Bangkok, which reported the use of marijuana by many visitors. The use of marijuana was a complicated issue that the Ministry of Public Health was highly focused on to protect all people, said Cholnan.
However, the current laws did not state that using marijuana for recreational purposes was illegal, only smoking in public area offenses could be considered similarly as of present, so legal charges could not apply to the Coldplay incident, stated Dr. Cholnan.
TPN media notes that even if the Cabinet approves the draft bill, it will need to go through various Parliament discussions before becoming law.