The drug code confuses cannabis, which remains a tightly controlled substance despite legal changes
The decriminalization of cannabis has reached a step important since hemp and cannabis are no longer included in the new list governing narcotics. However, this has mistakenly led some people to believe that they can now grow cannabis at home legally.
According to police and drug enforcement officials, cannabis remains illegal despite regulatory changes, and those who grow and possess the plant without permission still face legal action.
According to the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), the basic status of cannabis remains unchanged as it is still listed as a Category 5 narcotic substance by the Department of Public Health.
Thai authorities plan to decriminalize cannabis but not its recreational use. Thailand's Food and Drug Administration is due to meet with the Office of the Narcotics Control Board today and propose to remove cannabis from the list of controlled drugs. The measure will then need to be approved by the Ministry of Public Health, which is headed by cannabis advocate and Bhumjaithai party leader Anutin Charnvirakul.
Thai cannabis laws are confusing. Although Thailand has removed hemp and low-THC cannabis from its narcotics code, the general public is still not allowed to grow cannabis at home. Those who cultivate without authorization always expose themselves to legal proceedings. In Thailand, possession of weed can result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years. An MP from the Bhumjaithai party expressed concern about the lack of clarity from the authorities on this change to the Narcotics Act.
Thailand's Ministry of Public Health still classifies cannabis as a Category 5 narcotic. ONCB Secretary General Wichai Chaimongkhon said not including cannabis in the new code is a way to prepare to remove it from the Category 5 list in the future. Currently, cannabis producers must obtain permission from the Ministry of Public Health to cultivate this plant for medical or research purposes. Recreational use is still prohibited. Viroj Sumyai, former president of the International Narcotics Control Board, said that if Thailand allowed recreational use, it would no longer be allowed to import certain drugs it covers.
However, it remains to be seen whether cannabis can be liberalized in the same way as kratom since Thailand has signed three international drug control treaties and must strictly abide by them. These are the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961), the Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971) and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which entered into force in 1990.