Thailand Set To Effectively Ban Recreational Cannabis After Landmark Decriminalization

The law sets to outlaw the sale of THC in excess of 0.2%.

Thailand’s new government is moving ahead to pass new legislation banning cannabis for recreational use in a major reversal 18 months after the country became the first in Asia to decriminalize the plant.

The relaxed laws saw a lucrative cannabis industry catering to locals and foreigners alike boom across the Southeast Asian nation, but a new conservative coalition government came to power late last year vowing to tighten the rules and only allow medical use.

A draft bill was released on Tuesday by Thailand’s health ministry outlining hefty fines or prison sentences of up to one year for offenders – or both.

Cannabis and cannabis-related products will be limited to medical and health purposes only, the bill states, echoing Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s pledge in September that his new government will “rectify” laws on cannabis within the next six months.

Smoking marijuana in public remained illegal even under the relaxed laws, but the proposed new laws will ban advertising and marketing campaigns for cannabis buds and extracts, and other cannabis products.

An earlier draft bill failed to win parliamentary approval in November.

Thavisin has been vocal about banning recreational cannabis and stated in several media interviews that drug abuse is “a big problem for Thailand.”

CNN has reached out to Thailand’s Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew for further comment about the new proposal.

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