Will Thailand reverse its legalization of cannabis?

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The recent Thai elections, where the party MoveForward overthrew the Conservative Party that had decriminalized cannabis, have local cannabis entrepreneurs fearing the worst

A proposal of MoveForward aims to reclassify cannabis as a narcotic one year after its decriminalization. While the legal framework is indeed still very lax and no agreement was reached on legalization by the previous government, 12,000 companies have received a license to operate cannabis and some 1.1 million people have registered with the government to grow cannabis at home.

Conservative politics of a progressive movement

The prospect of tougher rules has not necessarily been welcomed by the cannabis community. Some 5,200 people and 200 companies have signed an online petition claiming that reclassifying cannabis as a narcotic would be a violation of people’s rights. And the young progressives who helped the opposition parties win also felt cheated.

“I thought they were supposed to go ahead,” Mr Suphamet Hetrakul of cannabis farm owner and wholesaler Teera Ventures told Reuters, referring to the translation of MoveForward. “A U-turn would damage Thailand’s credibility. »

Given the proliferation of shops, growers and consumers, can the Thai government completely turn the clock back?

Regulate the market

The proposal of MoveForward intends to “reclassify cannabis as a controlled substance…with new laws regulating and supporting its beneficial uses.” And if the details are not known, we can understand that the party ultimately wants to control cannabis and regulate its market.

Last Thursday, a representative of the party, Sirikanya Tansakun, thus defended the project of reclassification of cannabis, affirming that it was necessary to put an end to the legal vacuum. But she promised businesses would get support when the party pushes the regulations through parliament.

Although there appeared to be little prospect of a crackdown, she said unlicensed street vendors and smuggled drug imports would be stopped.

“Those who have invested legally will be protected and able to continue their activities,” Ms Sirikanya told reporters.

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