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Thailand’s Cannabis Policy Sparks Controversy and Cheers

Daniel Kim Views  

A marijuana shop in Bangkok, Thailand, is open for business. Bangkok/AP United Press

While the Biden administration in the United States is pushing for federal legalization of marijuana ahead of the elections, public support for the reclassification of drugs in Thailand, which has already embarked on legalization, is increasing.

According to Bloomberg, a telephone survey conducted by the National Development Agency (NDA) in Thailand from the 14th to the 15th targeting 1,310 Thai citizens aged 18 and over showed that 76% of respondents fully agree or mostly agree with the cannabis reclassification policy being promoted by Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin. 23.4% of the respondents disagreed, and 0.9% refused to answer or were uninterested in the issue.

In the NDA survey, about 75% supported limited use of medical marijuana, and 19% said that no policy supporting marijuana use should be implemented.

Thailand was the first in Asia to legalize medical marijuana in 2018. It allowed home cultivation by excluding marijuana from drugs from June 2022 for the activation of farm income and the tourism industry.

However, since the legalization of marijuana, the number of users for pleasure has increased, leading to social problems such as abuse and adolescent addiction.

In response, Prime Minister Thavisin instructed the Ministry of Health to amend the regulations to include marijuana in drugs again within this year. Accordingly, the use for pleasure will be prohibited except for cases of using it for medical purposes under control.

However, the backlash against the policy of canceling marijuana legalization is not insignificant. Last week, supporters of marijuana legalization protested, asking for a reconsideration of the plan to reclassify drugs to protect the interests of the growing marijuana-related industry and marijuana farmers.

Meanwhile, a review of easing marijuana regulations has begun in the United States. For over 50 years, marijuana has been classified as Schedule 1 with synthetic drugs such as heroin and LSD. Still, a plan to lower it to Schedule 3, like the analgesic Tylenol and the general anesthetic Ketamine, is ongoing.

Currently, 38 states and Washington D.C. in the United States have legalized medical marijuana already, and 24 of them allow recreational marijuana use. However, it is still illegal at the federal level.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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