Ganja advocates threaten to stage hunger strike if it’s reclassified


Group demands Public Health Ministry conduct comprehensive study on pros and cons before returning marijuana and hemp to list of Category 5 drugs

A group of cannabis advocates camping outside Government House threatened to go on hunger strike if the government outlaws the herb without first studying the pros and cons of the move.

The Thailand Cannabis Future Network said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that members of the group who are part of the stakeout outside Government House will go on a hunger strike if marijuana is added to the list of Category 5 Narcotics without a comprehensive study on the plant’s use.

The group began campaigning outside Government House on Monday when the Public Health Ministry’s panel on narcotics control voted last week to return marijuana and hemp to the list of Category 5 drugs.

On Tuesday, Public Health Minister Somsak Thepsutin said he would ask the Narcotics Control Board later this month
to endorse the ministry committee’s decision before the two plants are outlawed again.

Meanwhile, the cannabis advocates said in a statement that reclassifying marijuana as a drug would be like jailing a suspect without trial.

“We will stage a hunger strike unless the government agrees to conduct a trial before coming up with a verdict against cannabis,” the statement said.

It added that cannabis is just a plant that can be used as a medicine, but it has been “jailed” in Thailand until 2022 when it was “freed” or removed from the list of drugs.

The group claimed that a group of biased doctors had cooperated with certain politicians to frame marijuana with all sorts of bad words, so it would be inaccessible to the public and businesses close to those in power could control its use for vested interests.

Somsak said on Tuesday that his ministry had conducted a public hearing form June 11 to 25 and 80% of more than 100,000 responded backed the reclassification of marijuana and hemp as a drug.

He said if the NCB agrees with the plan, the ministry would draft four directives and regulations reclassifying marijuana and hemp as Category 5 drugs and the new directives and regulations should go into effect on January 1 next year.