In a swift response to concerns raised over the proliferation of cannabis dispensaries since the drug's decriminalization in 2022, Thailand's health minister announced on Tuesday the imminent introduction of a bill aimed at prohibiting the recreational use of cannabis.
Following its removal from the list of banned narcotics in June 2022 by the previous government, which included the pro-legalization Bhumjaithai party, the widespread establishment of cannabis dispensaries, particularly in Bangkok, sparked apprehension among critics. Many called for the implementation of more stringent regulations in response to the growing popularity of recreational cannabis.
The kingdom's health minister revealed that the proposed bill, which expressly prohibits the recreational use of cannabis, is set to be presented at the upcoming cabinet meeting scheduled for next week. Chonlanan Srikaew, addressing reporters, stated, “The new bill will be amended from the existing one to only allow the use of cannabis for health and medicinal purposes. The use for fun is considered wrong.”
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who assumed office in August last year, has consistently expressed his opposition to the recreational use of cannabis, emphasizing that its usage should be restricted to medicinal purposes only. The push for stricter regulations gained momentum over the weekend when concertgoers at British rock band Coldplay's shows in Bangkok took to social media, complaining that “the entire concert smelled like marijuana.”
As the government takes swift action to address concerns surrounding the recreational use of cannabis, the proposed bill aims to reassert control over its consumption, emphasizing its limited use for health and medicinal purposes.