Sunday, September 25, 2022

Thai Lawmakers Withdraw Marijuana Bill — Here’s Why

The move comes just three months after Thailand became the first South-East Asian country to decriminalize marijuana.

By Jelena Martinovic

Lawmakers in Thailand decided to withdraw a piece of legislation regulating the broader use of cannabis in the country. According to Bloomberg, the bill was sent back to the committee for further revision after a 198 to 136 vote by members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

The Democrat party, a part of the ruling coalition and opposition MPs from the Pheu Thai and Move Forward parties, were against the measure, even though it had already passed its first reading in the chamber in June.

Those opposing the bill claim that the original version was significantly amended following the first reading.

The move came some three months after Thailand became the first South-East Asian country to decriminalize marijuana by removing it from the banned Category 5 narcotics list and allowing legal cultivation of cannabis plants at home and its sales.

thailand
Photo by Mongkol Chuewong/Getty Images

Cafes Selling Cannabis Are Mushrooming

Since then, the number of outlets and cafes selling cannabis products has grown exponentially in the capital and other cities even though the government has highlighted on several occasions that the move was supposed to promote medical and commercial use instead of recreational use. Interestingly the draft bill didn’t directly target recreational smoking as illegal.

RELATED: Thailand Decriminalizes Marijuana, But Recreational Use Still Illegal

Sutin Klangsang, a lawmaker from Pheu Thai, said they are worried that mushrooming of businesses selling cannabis would lead to children and people becoming addicted.

“The bill doesn’t control cannabis but even promotes it, leaving room for its use to stray from medical to extremely recreational,” Klangsang said.

Meanwhile, in weeks following cannabis decriminalization, Thailand was making headlines for its lack of cannabis regulation.

RELATED: Weed Smokers Not Welcome In Thailand, Says Health Minister As Country Struggles To Revive Tourism

Shortly after Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirak gave away a million marijuana plants as a sign of good will, the opposition slammed him, arguing that he caused social problems and violated local and international laws by decriminalizing marijuana without adequate control.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.

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