Thai Health Minister Predicts Recreational Cannabis Ban By December

Thailand’s health minister announced plans to make recreational cannabis use illegal again by year-end, while maintaining its legality for medicinal purposes.

Full story after the jump.

Thailand’s health minister said that lawmakers are aiming to make adult-use cannabis illegal again by the end of the year, Reuters reports.

Under recently proposed legislation, it would be illegal to use cannabis recreationally but cannabis use for medicinal purposes would remain legal. People caught consuming cannabis would face fines of up to 60,000 baht ($1,700), and people caught illegally marketing or retailing cannabis products — or paraphernalia — would face up to a year in jail and fines up to 100,000 baht ($2,800).

“Without the law to regulate cannabis it will be misused,” Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew recently said. Cholnan also said that cannabis misuse “has a negative impact on Thai children,” and that “in the long run it could lead to other drugs.”

“In the new law, cannabis will be a controlled plant, so growing it would require permission. We will support [cannabis cultivation] for the medical and health industry.” — Cholnan, via Reuters

After lawmakers revealed their intent to crack down on Thailand’s booming cannabis industry, many cannabis company owners and other operators said they were preparing lawsuits to protect the industry.

Thailand was the first Southeast Asian country to enact significant cannabis reforms, legalizing medical cannabis in 2018 and then fully decriminalizing cannabis in 2022. The new reforms stopped short of actually regulating the country’s newest industry and the cannabis market value quickly ballooned in size and value, climbing to USD$800 million within six months.

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