The Bhumjaithai Party has issued a warning against any activities to celebrate World Cannabis Day on Thursday, April 20, stressing that it is still illegal to smoke cannabis in public places. Party registrar Supachai Jaisamut said that anyone planning such activities should cancel them, as smoking cannabis in public would violate Section 74 of the Public Health Act. The Act mandates a maximum prison sentence of one month and a fine of up to 2,000 baht for creating a public nuisance by smoking marijuana in public. Critics have pointed out that the statement is contradictory, as the Bhumjaithai Party had earlier pushed for the decriminalisation of cannabis, highlighting its economic and medicinal benefits. However, cannabis remains classified as a medicinal herb and its use is governed by legalization and regulation policies to prevent abuse and negative effects on the public. Despite the party’s current stance, public demand for recreational use of cannabis in Thailand has increased. Thousands of pot shops have opened across the country to meet this demand. While the removal of cannabis from the national narcotics list was a positive step in the direction of legalization, a specific law to govern its use has not yet been established, leading to a legal gray area that officials admit they cannot tackle in the short-term. If the Bhumjaithai Party stays true to its word, their next goal will be to pass laws that regulate the use of cannabis in Thailand. However, the passing of the laws would only happen under the next administration to be elected, as legislators could not reach a consensus on this issue in March when the dissolution of the House occurred. As we celebrate World Cannabis Day, it is important to acknowledge the significant benefits that cannabis can provide. The recent legalization in Thailand supports this fact, and every individual has the right to consume cannabis without harming others or breaking the law. It is high time for the government to recognize the realities taking place on the ground, and address the interests of the public.
As a disclaimer, the opinions expressed in this article don’t reflect those of High Thailand.