The decriminalization of cannabis in the hot seat in Thailand?

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The future of Thailand’s cannabis industry is up in the air after a lawsuit was launched challenging the decriminalization of cannabis in the country.

On June 9, the Thai Ministry of Public Health issued a decree removing cannabis from the list of narcotics. Under this regulation, the cultivation and trade of cannabis and hemp were more or less permitted. Restaurants and cafes are allowed to sell cannabis-infused foods and drinks, but only if they contain no more than 0.2% THC. Products with a higher concentration of THC are allowed, but only for medical purposes.

The opposition has not been very enthusiastic, and the Thai cannabis industry has been criticized for its lack of basic controls. The opposition claims that Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul caused social problems in the country and violated local and international laws by issuing the decriminalization decree. In response to growing criticism, the Ministry of Public Health announced a new rule aimed at better controlling the promotion and sale of cannabis flower, but the law has yet to come into effect.

On Monday, Thailand’s Central Administrative Court accepted a lawsuit led by Smith Srisont of the Medical Council of Thailand and lawmakers from opposition political parties seeking to revoke the decriminalization order.

The government should present its Cannabis Actthe text of the law that would definitively regulate cannabis, on November 23 before Parliament.

Proponents of legalization defend themselves

One of Thailand’s leading cannabis advocates, Chokwan “Kitty” Chopaka, announced on Facebook that she and other dispensary owners would gather at noon on Nov. 22 at government headquarters in Bangkok to protest the lawsuit. could stop everything.

“I went to different dispensaries around Sukhumvit to invite them to participate in the protest tomorrow, which went better than I thought, I guess seeing your business under threat can make people quite active “, posted Chopaka on Facebook, translated from Thai.

“I apologize if I could not personally invite each dispensary, and I would like to take advantage of this moment to invite all the dispensaries to come and demonstrate against the Narcotics Control Board who wants to penalize cannabis again. Which means that all dispensaries could be closed. »

“Those who don’t want their businesses closed. Those who don’t want their investment to disappear. Those who don’t want to hide their culture again. Those who want to sell cannabis legally. Those who do not want to start having urine tests again. Those who want cannabis to stay legal, come join us.”

ABC News reports that around 200 people showed up for the rally at government headquarters in Bangkok. “We want to make sure these politicians don’t try to put cannabis back on the list of narcotics. If that happens, our fight for years will mean nothing,” Akradej Chakjinda, a coordinator for Cannakin, a network of cannabis decriminalization supporters, told The Associated Press.

Another advocate, Soranut “Beer” Masayavanich, owner of the Sukhumweed dispensary, announced that another group will meet at the Ministry of Public Health to discuss with Charnvirakul the upcoming cannabis law.

“Our goal is to create mutual understanding about the benefits that cannabis will bring,” Beer said. “We emphasize that the decriminalization of cannabis brings benefits to several sectors, from tourism to the economy to agriculture. »

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