Industry News

Thailand will regulate cannabis use only for health and medical purposes


Bangkok (Reuters) - Thailand will reclassify cannabis as a narcotic by the end of the year, the prime minister said on Tuesday, a major shift two years after the country became one of the first in Asia to legalize the drug.

Thailand's domestic retail cannabis market has grown rapidly over the past two years, and the industry is expected to be worth up to $1.2 billion by 2025.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said on social media X: "I want the Health Ministry to amend the regulations and reclassify cannabis as a narcotic." The Ministry of Health should quickly issue a rule allowing its use only for health and medical purposes."

Medical marijuana was legalized in 2018, and recreational marijuana was legalized in 2022. Critics say it liberalized too quickly, resulting in huge confusion over rules and regulations.

He also asked authorities to redefine marijuana possession under the law from "small amount" to "one slice" so authorities can enforce the law more harshly. Sreta's government has previously said it hopes to introduce a marijuana law by the end of the year that would ban recreational marijuana use and allow it only for medical and health purposes.

Prasitchai Nunual, secretary general of the Thai Cannabis Future Network, said the recriminalization of cannabis would be a bad move for the economy and deal a major blow to small businesses and consumers.

"A lot of people are growing marijuana and opening marijuana shops, and those shops are going to have to close. If science shows that marijuana is worse than alcohol and cigarettes, then they can reclassify it as a drug. If marijuana is less harmful, cigarettes and alcohol should be classified as drugs."

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