Thailand: The cannabis decriminalization project validated by the authorities

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has drafted a bill to legalize the cultivation and consumption of cannabis. The country could also legalize its recreational use in certain places.

FDA Secretary General Paisarn Dunkum said Monday that his administration had drafted a bill in line with the Department of Public Health’s resolution to exclude cannabis from the list of narcotics. The FDA bill would allow people to grow cannabis for their own consumption, as long as they report such cultivation to their respective provincial administrative organizations. Domestic consumption would be reserved for medical purposes.

Companies wishing to engage in the commercial cultivation, import, export, sale and advertising of cannabis will need to obtain specific approval from the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB).

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul confirmed yesterday that the ONCB had approved the removal of cannabis from the list of controlled drugs. This withdrawal must now be officially signed by the Minister of Health and will enter into force 120 days after its publication in the official journal.

A possible legalization of cannabis

Regarding the recreational use of cannabis, Dr. Paisarn said it could be in some places that have not yet been specified.

“Of course, we will not go to the stage of coffee shops, but there are different models for its recreational use in other countries. We will choose the one that best suits our social context,” the FDA secretary general said.

A committee of the Ministry of Public Health, chaired by its permanent secretary, will develop specifications for places for recreational cannabis use, he added.

The bill provides for a three-year prison term and/or a 30,000 baht fine for violators.

A public hearing on the new bill will take place next month, Dr Paisarn said.

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