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Thais overwhelmingly back PM Srettha’s policy U-turn to reclassify cannabis as a drug

An overwhelming majority of participants in a Thai government survey have backed the Southeast Asian nation’s plan to reclassify cannabis as a narcotic to prohibit its recreational use.

At least 80 per cent of the 111,201 respondents supported a draft plan to once again label marijuana as a “category five” from next year, according to Health Minister Somsak Thepsutin. The Food and Drug Administration gathered public feedback to the draft regulation between June 11 and 25.

Thailand, which became the first country in Asia to decriminalise use of cannabis two years ago, took a policy U-turn earlier this year with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin ordering steps to limit its use for medical and health purposes. The move followed concerns about the social and health impacts, especially on children and youth, from a mushrooming of weed dispensaries across the country.

The use of cannabis for recreational purposes has been found to damage brain development and lead to depression and suicide, Somsak said earlier this month. About 40 per cent of young Thais with heroin addictions originally started with cannabis, according to him.

Under the new rules, cannabis buds will be categorised as a narcotics while the use of various other parts of the plant, including roots and leaves, will remain legal. The government will review the public feedback before sending the draft regulation for the approval of the Narcotics Control Board, Somsak said on Wednesday.


Thailand to outlaw marijuana in stunning U-turn just 2 years after drug was decriminalised

Cannabis advocacy groups and businesses have voiced their opposition to the policy volte-face, staging rallies and threatening a legal challenge against the premier.

“Business operators don’t have