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in-focus

Marijuana legalisation a step closer to reality


The Public Health Ministry’s controlled drugs committee on Thursday approved the removal of cannabis from the list of illicit drugs.

The revised Narcotics Code in force since January 9 no longer has cannabis and hemp on it, but people have been arrested for growing marijuana.

The panel meeting, chaired by Public Health Ministry deputy permanent secretary Dr Thongchai Keeratihatthayakon, agreed to remove marijuana from the Category 5 narcotics list.

The decision will be referred to the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, which is chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, for approval. If approved at the board’s next meeting on January 25, the change will be stated in an annoucement to be signed by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.

The announcement is expected to exclude cannabis from the list of illicit drugs, except the cannabidiol extracts with tetrahydrocannabinol of more than 0.2 per cent, Food and Drug Administration secretary-general Dr Paisarn Dunkum said.

He added that the legal exemption applies only to cannabis grown in the country.

Panthep Pongpuapan, a specialist in herbal plants, said he expected additional measures to restrict the use of marijuana in the future, similar to cigarettes and alcoholic drinks.

Published : January 20, 2022