Anutin Charnvirakul, the minister of health, refuted the claim that he worked to decriminalize marijuana and hemp in order to further a family business on Tuesday.

He told reporters, “I haven’t had anything to do with Sino-Thai Engineering & Construction (STEC) for more than 20 years today. My brother used to own the business…

Regarding a different company operated by his brother that is involved in the hemp business, he said, “I haven’t seen him in a long time and the company was dealing in the hemp business, not marijuana.

Anutin was accused of profiting from the decriminalization of hemp and marijuana by the Rural Doctor Society, a group of doctors practicing in rural areas. This prompted Anutin to make his comments. Both marijuana and hemp were decriminalized in June of last year. Before the hemp and marijuana bill, which was being pushed by Anutin’s Bhumjaithai Party, passed its third reading in parliament, the group claimed in a social media post that the “Charnvirakul network” had established a subsidiary in 2021 to invest in hemp enterprises.

The “Charnvirakul network” is referring to a The STEC which was founded by Anutin’s father, Chavarat Charnvirakul in 1962.

In June 2021, STP&I, one of STEC’s subsidiaries, established a business called Cannatory with a reregistered capital of five million baht. The business produces many herbs, including hemp. Anutin’s brother Masthawin Charnvirakul was on its board of directors. In 2021, Cannatory experienced a net loss of 1.66 million baht.

Anutin denied any connection to the business and added that his brother had previously closed it down due to the company’s expired license.