Thailand’s cannabis policy comes under fire – Reuters

Thais buy cannabis plants at a marijuana legalization expo organized by the Ministry of Public Health in Buriram province on June 10. LAUREN DECICCA/GETTY IMAGES

Thailand has been urged to introduce clearer regulations on the use of cannabis following the government’s decision to legalize the cultivation and consumption of the drug for food and drink.

Following the country’s decision on June 9 to become the first in Asia to decriminalize marijuana, some experts called the move hasty and “immature.”

“Thailand’s cannabis policy is very immature,” said Sarana Sommano, associate professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Science at Chiang Mai University. She said the government should have studied the consequences of such a decision and filled in all the loopholes before proceeding with the legalization.

“Regulations should be put in place so that we only allow medicinal and therapeutic uses in Thailand,” Sarana said.

Thailand’s health ministry has said food stores must obtain permission to sell products containing cannabis, Thai public broadcaster PBS reported on Sunday.

Thailand’s move also triggered warnings from other countries in Asia. Sarana said the government should think carefully about how to address the concerns, especially as the economy relies heavily on tourism.

Thai embassies in many countries, including Indonesia and Japan, have reminded Thai visitors that they should not bring cannabis or related products into those countries or face penalties.

Countries like China have also warned their citizens against consuming cannabis in Thailand, saying they could face legal issues when returning home as residues can be detected in the body.

The aim of Thailand’s decision to legalize cannabis is to boost the economy and help farmers, but the decision has raised concerns in society, said Atthachai Homhuan, director of the firm’s regulatory affairs department. of Tilleke & Gibbins avocados in Thailand. The company was tasked with managing the establishment of the Thai Cannabis Industry Association business.

Atthachai said a number of schools in Thailand have banned the use of cannabis in any form on their premises.

Atthachai said there are two categories of foods that fall under the cannabis legalization provisions: fitness food products and foods sold at food outlets such as food stalls or cafes.

He said street food stalls or restaurants should also inform consumers of their cannabis-related recipes.

Despite assurances from Thai health authorities that they only promote cannabis for medical purposes and not for recreational use, Sarana said she has not seen details of the control measures or any regulations. update.

In response to concerns from some doctors about the side effects of mind-altering substances in cannabis, including the potential for mental health problems, Atthachai said the government is considering a bill on the use of cannabis and hemp.

“In this bill, there will be regulated regimes or procedures (regarding) how the licensing or approval system will be done,” Atthachai said, noting that the focus will be on medical treatment.

Sarana said she was concerned that the adoption of cannabis in the agricultural sector could in turn harm Thai industry and exports, as other countries may be concerned about issues such as the use of biomass. cannabis in animal feed.

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