Health Groups Urge Government To Toughen Cannabis Rules

Health promotion groups have called on the government to impose tougher regulations on cannabis in Thailand, until authorities define measures to prevent the youth from abusing the plant.

A seminar organized by various health groups focused on the call on Wednesday. The event brought together the Children and Youth Council, the Northern Youth Health Promotion group, Youth Phitsanulok, and other organizations working with children and adolescents in the lower north.

Prasitchai Noonuan, a member of a House committee investigating the cannabis and hemp bill, was one of the speakers at the forum.

The group also included StopDrink Network manager Theera Watcharapranee and Youth Network coordinator Teerapat Kahawong. The Family Foundation secretary-general Chuwit Chantaros was another speaker.

During the seminar, participants expressed concern about the easy access youth have to cannabis after the plant was decriminalized and removed from the narcotics list in early June.

Youth Phitsanulok coordinator Sittipong Phumchan said the government had yet to amend a number of related laws that could accidentally encourage cannabis use by minors even though it is no longer considered a narcotic.

Many consumers don’t know how much THC [tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive agent in cannabis] they’re actually consuming because of a lack of labeling regulations, he said.

The Youth Health Promotion Networks in the lower north coordinator Pornphan Thapsaeng has also urged the relevant authorities to assess cannabis’ impact on children.

Mr. Sittipong reminded the public that under current regulations, only products containing less than 0.2% THC content by weight could be legally consumed and sold.

“In some cases, minors were able to purchase cannabis themselves, which underscores the need to ramp up restrictions on their sales,” he insisted.

Mr. Prasitchai urged all stakeholders to promote a better understanding of the plant, arguing that the public debate had focused on the negative aspects of decriminalizing cannabis.

The House is set to deliberate on the cannabis and hemp bill – which focuses on ways to limit the plant’s cultivation, access, sale, and use – in November, he added.

However, supporters fear the legislation will not be passed before parliament’s term expires in March 2023.