This article serves as a follow up to the article entitled ‘Cannabis: The Fat lady is about to sing.’
In the aftermath of the May 14 general election in Thailand, the progressive Move Forward Party has emerged as the likely candidate to form the next government.
Interestingly, it was the conservative military-backed government that first proposed the decriminalization of marijuana, supposedly initially only for medical use. However, the legal status of the plant remained uncertain. A proposed bill to establish regulations became too political and failed to pass through parliament, leaving a legal vacuum that has allowed a thriving recreational marijuana business to operate unchecked in the country.
Move Forward is looking to form a coalition with other opposition parties, including the Pheu Thai party. Pheu Thai emotionally campaigned on a promise to ban the recreational use of marijuana, citing concerns about the potential health risks and abuse by young people.
With a growing recreational market but with potential for medical use, it is clear that the legal status of this drug will continue to be a point of interest, and the heated debate continues. As Thailand moves towards a new era of government, it remains to be seen how the issue of marijuana legalization will be addressed.
This week, Move Forward and its allies released their political agenda, which specifically includes a proposal to reclassify marijuana as a controlled substance and heavily regulate its use.
However, this proposition has caused consternation among the pro-cannabis lobby, especially the younger generation that helped these opposition parties win the recent election. Many people are concerned that the proposed reclassification of marijuana as a narcotic will create a legal vacuum, encourage a black-market industry, and negatively impact Thailand’s credibility. Currently, over 1.1 million people have registered with the government to grow cannabis, and over 5,000 dispensary licenses have been issued.
In response to the proposed regulations, a petition has been signed by over 5,200 people and 200 businesses, stating that reclassifying cannabis would violate the people’s rights. With so many dispensaries, growers, and users, there are valid concerns about whether any government could put the marijuana genie back in the bottle. The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce predicts that the cannabis business could have been worth $1.2 billion by 2025 if it remains decriminalized.
The future of cannabis legislation in Thailand hangs in the balance. While there is a growing recreational market and potential for medical use, conflicting opinions and concerns have emerged regarding the proposed reclassification of marijuana as a controlled substance. The outcome of this debate will have significant implications for Thailand’s cannabis industry. It remains to be seen how the government will address these issues and find a balance that satisfies the diverse interests and concerns surrounding marijuana legalization.
The fat lady is about to sing, and the curtain may be closing.