Government Limits Cannabis Use to Adults Over 20

The government has responded to complaints about decriminalizing cannabis by limiting access to marijuana to adults only.

Thailand decriminalized cannabis on June 9, allowing people to use the plant for medicinal purposes. However, the move brought many complaints about marijuana’s recreational use and young people’s access to cannabis-based products.

On Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul signed the new rules to categorize marijuana and hemp as controlled plants, limiting their access to people aged 20 and older.

Those under 20 cannot possess or use plants within the cannabis family unless they have permission from doctors to treat specific conditions or illnesses, Mr. Anutin added.

The new government measures came after four men were rushed to hospitals in Bangkok earlier this week for a cannabis overdose. The group included two students aged 16 and 17.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) also said it plans to ban cannabis in schools and revealed that authorities expect to issue more regulations to limit or restrict cannabis use in public.

According to Mr. Anutin, such rules are tools to help officials control and prevent any misuse of marijuana or hemp.

The Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine proposed several regulations, including banning cannabis use in public places such as department stores, educational institutions, and state agencies. Under these rules, cannabis use should also be prohibited during pregnancy and after childbirth.

The Public Health Minister clarified that they had not mentioned the use of the cannabis plant’s buds, particularly in food, because the government has already defined a law that regulates THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content in products derived from marijuana.

The current law places the THC percentage limit at 0.2%, indicating that any cannabis or hemp extract with a higher percentage is still illegal and considered a narcotic.

The Department of Health also issued guidelines to regulate cannabis use in cooking, saying people should not consume more than two cannabis-containing dishes per day. It added that cannabis’ or derived products’ consumption among children could affect brain development.

Other regulations exposed by Mr. Anutin considered the fumes from smoking marijuana a public nuisance.