Thailand: a first legalization project fails to pass

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A new bill, the Cannabis and Hemp Billwas proposed in the Thai House of Representatives on Monday to regulate the decriminalization of cannabis in Thailand.

Under the rules proposed by this new bill, hospitals will be allowed to cultivate cannabis for therapeutic use, as provided for in the Herbal Products Act. Family farms will be able to use a maximum of 2.5 hectares dedicated to the cultivation of industrial hemp to use the fiber, trunk and roots of the plant.

And for personal use, the new proposed law would allow households to grow up to 15 cannabis plants.

Thai lawmakers forced the withdrawal of a bill aimed at regulating the use of cannabis, saying the proposed legislation did not contain enough provisions to prevent its misuse for recreational purposes.

House lawmakers, however, voted 198 to 136 on Wednesday to withdraw the bill and send it back to the drafting committee for further review. The Cannabis and Hemp Bill, which passed first reading in June and aimed to give the government greater control over the industry, could now be reintroduced in November.

Unexpected resistance to the bill came from the main opposition Pheu Thai party and the Democratic Party, a member of the ruling coalition. They follow concern over a proliferation of outlets and cafes selling cannabis products in Bangkok and other cities, three months after the country became the first in Asia to decriminalize cannabis. .

“The bill does not control cannabis, but promotes it, leaving room for its use to be changed from medical to extremely recreational,” said Sutin Klangsang, a lawmaker from Pheu Thai, the House’s largest party. low. “We are afraid that children and people will smoke it and become addicted”.

Since Thailand’s historic decriminalization, the government has repeatedly said that this measure is aimed at medical and commercial use and that it frowns upon its recreational use. The bill does not directly prohibit smoking for recreational purposes but stipulates that it will be prohibited to consume in public.

Parties opposed to the Cannabis Bill in its current form have threatened to vote against the legislation unless the revised version bans recreational use. They are also against the proposal that would allow households to grow up to 15 cannabis plants.

Opposition to the bill is also seen as a political tussle ahead of general elections to be called by March 2023. Passing the bill would deliver another victory for the Minister of Health Anutin Charnvirakul, who led the drafting of the bill and spearheaded cannabis liberalization as part of his campaign promises in the 2019 general election.

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