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Thailand Decriminalizes Cannabis; First In Asia

Unfortunately, police left a “gray area” around adult use. It’s “unclear” if possession will still result in arrest


Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced that the Narcotics Control Board had approved dropping marijuana from the list of controlled drugs.

The delisting will take effect 120 days after its publication in the government gazette. Thailand removed Cannabis — a plant species to which both marijuana and hemp belong — last month from the list of illegal drugs under the nation’s Narcotics Law.

Police and lawyers contacted by AP said it was unclear if possession of Cannabis will still be an offense subject to arrest. Related laws mean production and possession of marijuana remain “regulated” for now. That, unfortunately, leaves the legal status of adult-use marijuana somewhat murky. (Don’t you just loathe these equivocations? Yeah, us, too. But, sadly, they remain necessary until the weed is truly freed.)

Thailand in 2020 became the first nation in Asia to decriminalize Cannabis for medical purposes.

2020 Changes Left Cannabis With THC On List Of Controlled Drugs…

The Health Ministry measure retains on its list of controlled drugs parts from the cannabis plant that contain more than 0.2% by weight of tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is, of course, the main psychoactive ingredient that gives users a high.

Changes made in 2020 removed most parts of the marijuana plant from the “Category 5” list of controlled drugs. But still on the list are seeds (for some odd reason, since they have no THC) and buds, which are associated with recreational use.

The new policy removes all parts of the plant from the list.

Health Minister Anutin has been the driving force behind decriminalizing marijuana. He is the leader of the Bhumjai Thai Party, a major partner in the country’s coalition government. Anutin campaigned in the 2019 general election for legalization of Cannabis cultivation to aid farmers. The government hopes the measure helps to promote marijuana products as an industry in Thailand.

His Bhumjai Thai Party announced that on Wednesday it will propose in Parliament a draft Cannabis Act to clarify the legal status of marijuana.

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