Thailand: Recreational Use Of Pot To Be Recriminalised

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Cannabis joint Recreational use of pot to be recriminalised
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Recreational use of pot to be recriminalised as Minister warns abuses are undermining his plan

The decriminalisation of marijuana is turning into a major problem for the government with chaos in ministries and agencies responsible including an anxious request to police for enforcement of an older law.

On Wednesday, Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul, the architect of the drive to decriminalise the drug, told reporters unequivocally that recreational use of cannabis was still illegal as his ministry attempted to get police to enforce a 1999 law while the minister himself promised that legislation before parliament would again make cannabis as a recreational drug strictly illegal and open the way to effective police enforcement.

In the meantime, Mr Anutin warned those abusing the hiatus between legal measures, that they were undermining the signature project of his Bhumjaithai Party in government.

Urgent efforts appear to be underway within the government to roll back the decriminalisation of cannabis in Thailand which came into effect on June 9th last and which generated increased and heated opposition both within and outside the country’s halls of power with a letter signed by 851 medical practitioners this week and a powerful submission of the minority Muslim Community calling for the recreational use of pot to be recriminalised.

This week, the Minister of Public Health warned sharply that the recreational use of cannabis was still legal as his department attempted to have the police enforce a 1999 provision. He told reporters that continued abuse of the new law threatened to undermine efforts to develop cannabis as a lucrative cash crop and its success as a licensed additive to food and beverages while also making it available to all those who need it for medicinal purposes. He confirmed that new legislation before parliament will outlaw the now widespread recreational use of drugs in the country and that this was the policy, all along.

This week, the National Police Commissioner General Suwat Jang­yod­suk asked the Ministry of Public Health for time to have legal experts review a letter from the Ministry of Public Health calling for enforcement of a 1999 law which purports to control the use of cannabis as authorities scramble to find a way to rein in uncontrolled recreational use of the drug following the June 9th decriminalisation of marijuana and a growing backlash from influential groups including medical experts and the Muslim community in Thailand.

On Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health, Anutin Charnvirakul, emphatically announced that recreational use of cannabis was still illegal in Thailand and would be controlled further with a new law before parliament which will decriminalise the flower part of the cannabis plant and redesignate it as a narcotic substance.

As the government comes under fire from the medical profession and key sectors of society such as the Muslim community, to rescind its June 9th decriminalisation of marijuana or cannabis, the Minister of Public Health, Anutin Charnvirakul, strongly reaffirmed this week that he was not in favour of legalising cannabis for recreational use and that this was not the goal of the reforms in government led by his Bhumjaithai Party.

On Wednesday, Mr Anutin told reporters that a law being guided through parliament, and currently before the House of Representatives, would again criminalise the use of the drug for recreational use.