Thai Public Health Minister Addresses Cannabis Reclassification Amid Public Protest

National —

On July 9th, 2024, Public Health Minister Somsak Thepsuthin addressed the ongoing controversy surrounding the reclassification of cannabis as a type 5 narcotic by the Ministry of Public Health’s Narcotics Control Committee.

The proposal is now with the Narcotics Control Board (NCB) for review, expected by the end of the month. If approved, the process will involve creating secondary legislation and ministerial regulations, but the declaration of cannabis as a type 5 narcotic can be made directly by the Public Health Minister, said Somsak.

Somsak highlighted the urgency due to the main narcotics law, effective since December 9th, 2021, which mandates completing supplementary laws within two years, now extended to December 9th, 2024.

He cited public health concerns, including allegedly potential IQ reduction and persistent public fear, as reasons for the swift action.

However, he noted that this classification is not permanent and could be revised by future governments or legislative efforts.

Somsak denied allegations from the Thai Cannabis Network suggesting the decision was influenced by powerful business interests, asserting that the aim is to protect public welfare. He acknowledged the need for accessible medicinal cannabis but emphasized careful regulation.

Read about the ongoing protest from the Thai Cannabis Network proposing a four-point investigation for cannabis legislation amid government opposition.
Somsak also assured that the reclassification would not adversely affect businesses or individuals previously released from cannabis-related charges. They would be protected under existing laws if they declared their intent and held a legal license.
Addressing the protestors’ demands for clarity, Somsak reiterated that the Ministry of Public Health had communicated factual information and provided guidelines. He emphasized that the NCB would be the proper channel for any further inquiries.

Read our latest article about Thailand advancing the reclassification of cannabis as an illegal narcotic following a Ministry meeting.

Read our latest article about Thai Deputy PM Anutin Charnvirakul questioning the legal implications of cannabis reclassification and calling for clarification.

This article originally appeared on our sister website The Pattaya News.

Kittisak Phalaharn
Kittisak has a passion for outgoings no matter how tough it will be, he will travel with an adventurous style. As for his interests in fantasy, detective genres in novels and sports science books are parts of his soul. He works for Pattaya News as the latest writer.