Hundreds of doctors and alumni from Mahidol University’s Faculty of Medicine have issued a statement calling for an immediate ban on recreational cannabis use, claiming that it endangers the public health system and people’s short and long-term health.

The statement, signed by 851 medical personnel, stated that the Public Health Ministry’s announcement removing cannabis and hemp from Category 5 of the illegal narcotics list went into effect on June 9th, despite the fact that there is no policy in place to control their use, resulting in widespread recreational use of the plants, including by children.

According to the statement, the findings contradict claims that decriminalization was intended to increase public access to medicinal cannabis.

The group also claimed that there are numerous scientific and research papers demonstrating that cannabis has negative effects on young people’s brains.

They also backed an earlier open letter to the government from a network of academics and civil society organizations calling for the suspension of cannabis decriminalization and hearings to allow all stakeholders to participate in the development of a national cannabis policy. They also called for the launch of a campaign to ban the recreational use of cannabis, which has received thousands of signatures on the platform.

The problem of young people using herbs recreationally stems from the fact that cannabis and hemp have been decriminalized, but amendments to the Narcotics Act to regulate the use of the two plants and their extracts are still pending in parliament.

To address this issue temporarily, on June 16th, issued an announcement declaring cannabis and its extracts to be controlled herbs, preventing people under the age of 20 and breast-feeding women from using them. It is also illegal to use the substance in public, including smoking. The classification went into effect the next day.