Thailand’s move to legalise cannabis emerges as an election issue

  • Cannabis was legalized in Thailand in 2022 – namely allowing its possession, cultivation, distribution, consumption, and sale. The national parliament was dissolved ahead of Thailand’s general election on May 14, before a Cannabis Act could be enacted.
  • While the majority of leading candidates are clear that more regulations are required to control the industry, how that looks and how it will be done varies.
  • Prime ministerial candidate for Move Forward Party (MFP), Pita Limjaroenrat, while open to cannabis being grown and used in a controlled fashion, wants it placed back on the narcotics list so it can be better controlled.
  • Pheu Thai Party originally voted in favour of legalising cannabis but has turned its sights on tightening the drug policy during the campaign period.
  • It was the BJT, under the leadership of deputy prime minister and public health minister Anutin Charnvirakul that ushered in the legalisation of cannabis.
  • Political watchers in Buriram, the “cannabis capital” of the country, expect the BJT Party to dominate the local results when the polls close on 14 May.
  • While national dynamics suggest a tight contest between it and Pheu Thai Party in many areas, locals are expected to again elect BJT candidates who have served them in the previous parliament.

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