Legalization is gaining ground in Thailand
Anutin Charnvirakul, leader of the Bhumjaithai party: A Thai party that wants to let households grow cannabis is in demand after a hard-fought election campaign. He said the April 3 that his policies need to be supported by groups seeking support in coalitions.
Since the 2014 coup, Thailand held its first election last month, and the Bhumjaithai party has become a key partner in legalization after winning 39 seats in the lower house and finishing fifth in the popular vote.
The Bhumjaithai party wants to allow households to cultivate 6 plants per person, an approach loosely based on the US state of California.
Let's not forget that Thailand became the first country in Southeast Asia to approve the use of cannabis for medical purposes. last December.
The Bhumjaithai party - which means "Thai Pride" - is led by Anutin Charnvirakul, a mega-rich amateur pilot, son of a construction tycoon, and unlikely supporter of the plant's medical benefits.
He has proven to be a highly courted candidate as two of the main parties need his allegiance - and party seats - after the contested vote.
Their campaign made waves by displaying cannabis leaves. He also talks about deregulation for businesses, the promotion of carpooling services and a 4-day work week.
“Marijuana has more positive than negative properties,” the 52-year-old told AFP in an interview in his Bangkok office, nearly two weeks after the March 24 poll.
Educated at Hofstra University in New York, Anutin maintains a collection of original signatures of American presidents in the hallway dating back to George Washington.
“We have to choose the party that will accept our policies,” he said, adding that he wanted people to have access to the nascent industry so that big companies do not get involved.
The choice is between the Phalang Pracharat Party, supported by the junta (military dictatorship), which won the popular vote, or the Pheu Thai, which formed an alliance with six other anti-junta parties and claims a majority in the lower house .
Analysts also mentioned Anutin as a possible prime minister in a large market that would include loyalty to his party.
Although he declined to say which direction he leans ahead of the full results announcement on May 9, Anutin said Bhumjaithai is looking for parties that emphasize unity, a "Thailand first" approach. and respect for the monarchy.
While a junta-appointed senate has the right to vote for the highest office, analysts say Phalang Pracharat still needs mid-sized parties like Bhumjaithai in the lower house to avoid a crisis of legitimacy.
Anutin expressed general weariness over the bitter political divisions that have crippled Thailand for more than a decade.
“I don't want supporters,” he said. “I want everyone to come together and look for the best solution for the country. "