11 July 2024

A rift between two coalition parties, Democrat and Bhumjaithai, widened when a group of Democrat MPs called on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha today (Thursday) to reconsider the decriminalisation of cannabis.

Initiated by the Bhumjaithai Party, the cannabis bill has passed its first reading in the House of Representatives. It is due to have its second and final readings during this parliamentary session, after it was amended by the House scrutiny committee. Opposition parties and the Democrat Party have, however, voiced strong objection to the bill, fearing that the decriminalisation of cannabis will lead to increased abuse among Thai youth.

Democrat MPs Dr. Banyat Jetanajan, Phisit Li-atham, Prakob Rattanapan and Pimrapee Phanwichatikul held a press conference at parliament today to voice their objection to the bill, which seeks to decriminalise medical and controlled recreational use of cannabis.

The group claims that six months after cannabis was removed from the Category 5 drug list, more Thai youth are using cannabis for recreation, putting them at risk of addiction or developing psychiatric conditions.

The group urged the prime minister to consider returning cannabis to the Category 5 drug list.