Thailand's Legal Weed Going Up In Smoke

(MENAFN- Asia Times) BANGKOK – Two years after a military-led government decriminalized cannabis, Thailand's elected civilian leader announced he will end its recreational use in December, shut thousands of licensed weed shops and punish those involved with marijuana unless for medical use.

The sudden reversal threatens the popularity of an already squabbling coalition government elected as voters' second choice in May 2023 under Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and his second-placing Pheu Thai Party.

Peua Thai portrays itself as staunchly anti-marijuana but some powerful parties in its coalition favor regulated recreational use and production, similar to alcohol or tobacco, to boost Thailand's struggling economy.

Cannabis investors, farmers, sellers and consumers have expressed outrage and said if weed becomes illegal again, it would destroy Thailand's rapidly expanding, multi-million dollar, foreign-invested cannabis industry, which caters largely to international tourists.

Cannabis supporters held small rallies on May 16 at the Health Ministry and tourist-packed Phuket island's Provincial Health Office, demanding Prime Minister Srettha's health minister prove recreational cannabis is worse for health compared to alcohol and tobacco.

The Cannabis Future Network said it will rally supporters to protest in front of the Health Ministry until that proof appears.

“Just search on the internet and you will find there has been no research which show cannabis has a serious negative impact on mental health,” said Cannabis Future Network's secretary-general Prasitchai Nunual.

“On the other hand, there are countless studies which demonstrate the health benefits of cannabis, which are sufficient to conclude that cannabis plants have medicinal properties,” Prasitchai said.


Asia Times

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