Thailand has unveiled plans to ban recreational use of marijuana by the end of this year but continue to allow its use for medical purposes.


After Thailand became the first country in Southeast Asia to free up medicinal use in 2018, and then recreational use in 2022, tens of thousands of cannabis shops have sprung up in an industry projected to be worth up to $1.2 billion by next year.


Critics say piecemeal rules were rushed out and adopted within a week of decriminalisation, and the government has drafted a new law to regulate cannabis use that is expected to take effect by year-end.


Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew said the draft bill will go to cabinet for approval next month before heading to parliament to be passed before the end of the year, noting that without regulation of cannabis it will be misused.


Cholnan who put the number of legally registered shops at 20,000added that cannabis shops that operate illegally will not be allow to continue, while home-grown cannabis will also be discouraged.


February 29, 2024

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