Calls To Examine the Impacts of Cannabis Before Reclassifying

Cannabis advocates are urging the government to establish a committee to explore the effects of cannabis before deciding to classify it again as a narcotic.

Prasitchai Nunual, secretary-general of the Writing Thai Cannabis’ Future group, who protested near Government House on Monday, stated that the study should examine its impacts on physical health, mental health, societal effects, and its therapeutic benefits compared to tobacco and alcohol.

He stated that if the study concludes that the effects of cannabis are no worse than those of tobacco and alcohol, a special law should be introduced to regulate its usage.

Should the results indicate greater harm, cannabis should be maintained as a controlled narcotic.

“A committee should study the issue. The facts should be established and laid out for the public to see,” he said.

Mr. Prasitchai also asserted that changing cannabis policy might be a move by certain government officials to safeguard the interests of major players, benefiting from its reclassification as a narcotic under the guise of public health protection.

Recently, the Public Health Ministry’s committee on illegal drugs endorsed the idea of reclassifying cannabis and hemp as narcotics, excluding their stems, leaves, roots, and seeds.

Cannabis flowers and any substances with more than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are set to be re-criminalized.

On Monday, protesters also warned of revealing purported connections between powerful financial groups and politicians, particularly leaders of the ruling Pheu Thai Party.

Meanwhile, a community enterprise in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Phimai district is appealing to the government to support small cannabis businesses left hanging by the government’s unsuccessful initiative to make it a lucrative crop.

Thongchai Posawang, the leader of a community enterprise cultivating medical cannabis, mentioned their partnership with the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine.

However, he noted that the high costs of cultivating medical cannabis do not match the lower-than-expected returns, leading to significant losses and dwindling hopes of recovering initial investments.

He expressed concern over whether farmers would continue to have permission to cultivate the plant.

“We would like to know what measures the government has in store to help the farmers who fell for their campaign words,” he said.

“Will the government allow farmers to grow cannabis for medical use and research after this?” he added.

According to Mr. Thongchai, the community enterprise was launched in 2020, attracting over 230 farmers.