11 July 2024

The Thai Ministry of Education has issued a set of regulations, applied in all schools since yesterday (Thursday), to prevent abuse of cannabis and hemp among students and teaching staff, while another regulation, from the Ministry of Public Health, banning the smoking of marijuana in public and its use by minors and pregnant women becomes effective today.

The new rules come as concerns grow after a few youths have been admitted to hospital after consuming the herbs since they were decriminalised on June 9th, resulting in a boom in cultivation, especially of cannabis, and the widespread use of the plants in food and drinks.

According to the youth regulations jointly developed by the Education and Public Health ministries and the Royal College of Paediatricians of Thailand, students and personnel of all educational institutes and organisations under the Education Ministry are forbidden from using cannabis or hemp on the premises. They are also required to ensure that staff or students under their supervision do not use either of the two plants for recreational purposes.

School administrators must make sure that eateries in schools do not sell food or drinks which contain cannabis or hemp and students are forbidden from bringing such food or drinks into schools.

School administrators should hold activities and arrange courses to educate students about the health risks and medical benefits of cannabis and hemp.

Apart from the regulations issued by the Education Ministry, school administrators may issue additional regulations or measures as they think fit, to prevent problems which may occur from abuse of the two plants.

Last week, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) declared over 400 schools under its supervision cannabis-free zones, banning the sale of food or drinks which contain cannabis in schools.

A 14-year-old boy, who was sent to a hospital in the north-eastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima for treatment after he fell sick after cannabis consumption, is reported to have recovered.

The boy reportedly admitted to using cannabis and then developed symptoms of a nervous system disorder.

The paediatrician at the Maharaj Hospital, Dr. Jiraruj Chomcheoy, who treated the boy said the case should serve a reminder to people in government that they should have put in place some preventive mechanism before decriminalising cannabis and hemp.

He said traces of THC were found in the boy’s urine and it was lucky that his condition was not serious.

The doctor said that people, including youths, now have easy access to cannabis in food, drinks and other forms. He warned, however, that cannabis and its extracts will have both short and long term effects on the nervous systems of the youths who use them.

The regulations from the health ministry, effective today, specify that the smoking of cannabis and hemp in public is banned. People who can access the controlled herb must be over 20 years old, while pregnant and breast-feeding women are barred from access. Patients who are prescribed cannabis can possess the substance for no more than 30 days.