Public Health Minister wants stringent regulations to control the use of cannabis


The Minister of Public Health, Cholnan Srikaew, on Tuesday declared his opposition to marijuana use for recreational purposes, and demanded tight regulations to control its use.

The use of marijuana was decriminalised by the previous government, but Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has said that his administration would ensure marijuana use would be restricted for medicinal purposes.

“The law [on the cannabis] would need to be rewritten,” Srettha told news media Bloomberg last week when he was in New York to attend a UN meeting.

Cholnan told reporters on Tuesday that the consumption of cannabis for reasons other than medical purposes required stringent regulations so as to prevent harm to people's health. He said cannabis contained narcotics at levels higher than what is allowed by law and posed a threat to the people's health.

He said the ministry had not included any action to deal with the cannabis situation in its “13 quick-win policies”, as the implementation of any step would need a long time, and require assistance from other departments, including the Ministry of Justice.

Among the 13 quick-win policies, which aim to create concrete results within 100 days, are setting up wellness communities, promoting health services, and improving the health system in border areas.

Cholnan added that any action taken in regard to cannabis must be thorough as it could result in harm rather than good.

Asked about the fate of numerous cannabis stores that have mushroomed across the kingdom, he said laws must be put in place to deal with them, adding: “We are working to maximise benefits for all parties while maintaining the safety of [people's] health.”

Cholnan said that he would soon talk with Anutin Charnvirakul, the leader of the cannabis-friendly Bhumjaithai Party, on the matter.