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Thailand’s Move Forward Party Moving Backwards on Marijuana

70% of marijuana shops could be closed in near future.




A Cookies Cannabis dispensary in Bangkok, Thailand. PHOTO BY GLOBAL CANNABIS TIMES

Thailand’s upcoming coalition government led by the Move Forward Party is set to make significant changes to the country’s marijuana legalization. The new government plans to reclassify marijuana as a narcotic, bringing stricter control over its use, reports Thai PBS World. However, existing marijuana businesses will be given time to adjust to the new regulations.

Previously, Thailand had banned cannabis for many years, but four years ago, the Bhumjaithai Party made marijuana legalization a central policy. After the 2019 national vote, Bhumjaithai gained control of the Public Health Ministry with health minister Anutin Charnvirakul (a Global Cannabis Times Top 100 Winner for Governance) pushing for the decriminalization of cannabis.

Over the next three years, steps were taken to allow general use of marijuana, and by late 2021, cannabis was no longer classified as a controlled substance. However, without clear regulations, the marijuana market grew rapidly, with shops popping up along roadsides, in cities, and online.

Under the new government, about 70% of marijuana shops are expected to close once marijuana is reclassified as a narcotic. Online cannabis shops and roadside stalls will be most affected. The remaining 30% of shops will operate under new regulations.

The reclassification and new regulations are part of the Move Forward Party’s governance agreement with coalition partners. While the party aims to control marijuana, it also intends to protect legitimate businesses. However, specific details and timelines for the marijuana policy have yet to be revealed.

The party says that individuals who need medical marijuana will still have access to it.





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