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A week after decriminalisation, Thailand seeks to rein in cannabis use

Thailand has announced a slew of new cannabis regulations this week, after a long-awaited decriminalisation sparked concerns about the substance’s unchecked usage anywhere and by anybody, including youngsters.


Businesses began openly selling marijuana soon after the country became the first in Asia to legalise the production and consumption of cannabis in food and drink on June 9, with strains like ‘Amnesia’ and ‘Night Nurse’ on offer from a truck in Bangkok.


A Bangkok city official expressed alarm about the rapid surge in cannabis sales: At least one person died and numerous others were hospitalised this week after consuming or smoking marijuana, according to Deputy Permanent Secretary Wantanee Wattana.


A cannabis measure is being debated in parliament, but it could be months before it becomes law.


In an online article earlier this week, Mana Nimitmongkol, the chairman of the Anti-Corruption Organization (Thailand), noted, ‘There are no control methods other than word of mouth.’


The federal government has been introducing piecemeal regulations this week in an attempt to bring some order to cannabis use.


New restrictions took effect on Friday, prohibiting all public cannabis smoking as well as the sale of marijuana to those under the age of 20, pregnant women, and nursing mothers. The rules were published in the Royal Gazette the next day.


Other laws included prohibiting cannabis use in schools, requiring shopkeepers to offer explicit notice on the use of cannabis in food and beverages, and enforcing a health legislation that designated marijuana smoke as a public nuisance punishable by imprisonment and a fine.


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