Thai Government Could Face ‘Thousands’ of Lawsuits Over Cannabis Policy Reversal

As Thailand contemplates retracting its landmark cannabis decriminalization reforms, industry insiders prepare to launch lawsuits to safeguard their businesses amidst legislative attempts to restrict recreational use and pivot towards medical applications only.

Full story after the jump.

As Thailand’s government considers rolling back its historic cannabis decriminalization reforms from two years ago, industry insiders say that cannabis entrepreneurs and operators in the country are readying lawsuits to protect their livelihoods, This Week in Asia reports.

The litigation threat comes after Thailand’s health minister rolled out legislation earlier this year that would effectively outlaw recreational cannabis consumption — implementing strict criminal penalties and banning cannabis products with a THC level above 0.2% — and aims to refocus the country’s reforms around medical use only.

The new Cannabis and Hemp Act has yet to be considered by lawmakers, who chose not to address the issue during their weekly meeting on Tuesday, the report said. But cannabis operators and investors are certainly concerned about the proposal: “Everyone is talking to lawyers,” cannabis dispensary owner Soranut “Beer” Masayavanich told This Week in Asia.

Benjamin Baskins, CEO of OG Cannab, which operates multiple dispensaries in high-tourism areas of Bangkok, said he expects lawmakers would need to make significant changes to the proposal if it were to move forward. “It’s hard to even take seriously,” he said.

“They’re going to have so many lawsuits. How are they going to deal with 7,000 lawsuits from dispensaries, and thousands more from growers?” — Baskins, via This Week in Asia

Cannabis advocates argue that lawmakers should seek to make changes to the proposal that recognize and regulate — rather than eliminate — the country’s nascent but booming cannabis industry.

The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce estimated that Thailand‘s cannabis industry was worth nearly USD$800 million by the end of 2022 — only six months after the country’s decriminalization policy took effect — and could reach USD$1.2 billion by 2025, the report said.

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