The Cannabis Act was defeated in parliament last night after a majority of lawmakers voted against it.
The bill, which seeks to establish regulations regarding the manufacturing, trade, and use of marijuana, was voted down by lawmakers 198-136. Twelve people abstained, and one did not vote.
Satit Wongnongtoey of the old guard Democrat Party and Suthin Klangsaeng of the main opposition Pheu Thai Party both spoke out against the bill, citing existing loopholes and raising concerns about cannabis being widely used recreationally rather than medically, as proposed by health minister and Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul.
A coalition of Democrat Party MPs even proposed reclassifying it as a narcotic and only decriminalizing hemp.
Chada Thaiset of the Bhumjaithai Party stated that if the bill is withdrawn, there may not be enough time to implement it during the current parliament, which ends in March.That would keep the current status quo, in which marijuana is unregulated and completely legal, in place for another year and in the hands of the next government.
Parliament will be in recess beginning Sunday and will return on November 1 through February 28.