11 July 2024
An overwhelming number of people have voiced support for decriminalizing the use of kanja (marijuana) for research and development for medical purpose, said Somchai Sawaengkarn, a member of the National Legislative Assembly, on Tuesday, citing result of an opinion survey conducted during October 1-15.

Of the 16,431 people who voiced their opinions on the issue, 16,264 voted in support of the bid to amend the narcotics law to make it legally possible for kanja to be used for medical research in the hope that medicines can be developed from the addictive drug for the treatment of certain diseases.

Somchai said over 290,000 had logged into the NLA’s webpage to take a look at the bill to amend the narcotics law.

He added that he and fellow assemblymen would hold another public hearing this month to gauge public opinions about kanja decrimalization for medical purpose.

Earlier, Justice Minister Prajin Jantong cautioned that decriminalizing kanja should not be rushed, noting that there are many strains of kanja and each has different medicinal qualities.

Most importantly, he said that the patients must give their consent if they were to be given medicines extracted from kanja and that measures must be put in place to prevent abuse of kanja if it was to be decriminalized.

The minister said several countries had conducted research on kanja for medical purpose, but they could not produce medicines from the plants because of patent problem. 
In the case of Thailand, he said it was necessary for the country to conduct its own research and to develop medicines by itsel.