Thailand Warned Against 'Liberalisation' of Cannabis Use

Last updated: 2019-08-15  | 

PUBLISHED : 14 August  2019  - 15:14


The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has advised the government to proceed with extreme caution on its cannabis policy, warning that Thailand must abide by international drug control treaties and guard against a damaging policy misstep.

Viroj Sumyai, president of the Vienna-based INCB, said Thailand is bound by three major international narcotic control agreements, which authorities must study thoroughly given the decision to legalise medical cannabis. 

The INCB was monitoring cannabis policy in Southeast Asian countries and was deeply concerned about the hype around "liberalisation" of the plant's use in Thailand.

Earlier, Mr Viroj warned that Thailand would lose import privileges for some medicines if it decided to decriminalise marijuana for recreational use. Concerns were apparently sparked by a proposal to allow each household to grow up to six marijuana plants for private use.

The proposal was floated during the election campaign by the Bhumjaithai Party, whose leader Anutin Charnvirakul is now public health minister. 

The International Narcotics Control Board has advised the government to be cautious in liberalising marijuana for medical use. (Government Pharmaceutical Organisation photo)


According to Mr Viroj, Thailand is obliged to comply with the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which classifies cannabis as a narcotic but permits its use under supervised medical conditions. The country must also comply with the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971 and Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988.

convention on narcotic drugs.

He said any government which authorises the use of cannabis for medical purposes needs to meet a number of conditions under the 1961 drug control agreement. These included providing estimates of anticipated consumption and details of the area and geographical location of any cultivation. 

"Estimates of the [number of] plants for production of cannabis-based Thai traditional medicines will have to be reported too," he said.

Niyom Termsrisuk, secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), said his agency and the Public Health Ministry had yet to decide on the composition of a committee to oversee production and consumption of medical cannabis.

He stressed that under the Narcotic Drugs Act cannabis remains illegal to possess, grow, distribute or sell without official permission.

Source : https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1730187/thailand-warned-against-liberalisation-of-cannabis-use