23 May 2024

Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said today that his Bhumjaithai party had fulfilled its election pledge to decriminalise cannabis, but the party was double-crossed when its associated bill passed its first reading in the House, but has been blocked from further progress since.

Responding to the government’s plan to reclassify cannabis as a Category 5 narcotic, Anutin insists that the party has scientific proof of the advantages of cannabis for medical and health uses, as he challenged those who are against cannabis to come up with credible information to prove the demerits of the substances.

He disclosed that the problem with cannabis is that there is no law to govern its use, adding that the authority to delist cannabis from Category 5, or to relist it, rests with the Narcotic Prevention and Suppression Board and the Narcotic Control Committee, chaired by the permanent secretary of public health.

Although he is no longer in charge of the Ministry of Public Health, the Bhumjaithai party leader said that he is still a member of the Narcotic Prevention and Suppression Board. In this capacity, he said he will provide scientific information to the board in defence of cannabis adding, however, that the board has the final say on the matter.

Asked about existing cannabis retail outlets, of which there are now many, Anutin said that they are currently controlled by a ministerial regulation from the Public Health Ministry.