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Thailand is planning to prohibit recreational cannabis, despite the decriminalization set for 2022


In a significant policy shift, Thailand is planning to reclassify cannabis as an illegal substance and will only issue permits for medical patients, cultivators, and research purposes. The use of recreational cannabis will be prohibited, as stated by Public Health Minister Somsak Thepsutin in a Facebook post reported by Reuters.

The decision comes shortly after Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin urged the health minister to reclassify recreational cannabis as an illegal substance. According to the Bangkok Post, Thepsutin also mentioned that only marijuana buds would be reclassified as a Category 5 narcotic. Category 5 drugs, which include opium and psilocybin, carry criminal penalties in Thailand for manufacturing, importing, exporting, sale and possession.

However, marijuana leaves, branches, roots, stems and seeds will still be available for approved health and medical applications. Hemp has also been removed from the Category 5 list and will not face similar restrictions.

This new policy essentially reverses Thailand’s previous move to decriminalize marijuana in 2022 due to the lack of comprehensive regulations and enforcement mechanisms. This led to thousands of stores opening without proper oversight or control.

The policy reversal has sparked widespread protests from cannabis advocacy groups including store owners according to Thaiger report. Shortly after taking office,Thavisin pledged to rewrite cannabis laws allowing only medical use in Thailand making it the first Asian nation to decriminalize marijuana.

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