THE Public Health Ministry is rushing to improve its ministerial announcement decriminalising marijuana to specify that only the inflorescence is controlled with a conclusion expected to be reached next week, Sanook.com said this evening (July 27).
Dr. Narong Saiwong, the deputy permanent secretary, and Dr. Yongyot Thammawut, the head of the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, said this review is taking place after the ministry recalled a letter sent to the police asking for their cooperation in prosecuting those who do not have permission to research, export, sell and process controlled herbs for trade.
This is to protect people under 20 years of age, pregnant and lactating women.
Dr. Yongyot said a sub-committee concluded that the definition of marijuana as a controlled herb must be clarified on four points. Firstly, people who use marijuana for health purposes must not be affected; secondly, offenses committed before this announcement was made is null and void; thirdly, any action of officials taken together with those involved must be clear; and fourthly, as marijuana is an important crop for the economy and has medicinal value it cannot be moved back to being a narcotic drug or marginalised.
The sub-committee concluded that the ministry’s announcement on controlled herbs has to be clarified to state that only marijuana inflorescence is designated as being controlled.
To announce that the whole plant is a controlled herb would affect a lot of people but in designating only the inflorescence as being so allows people to use of roots, plants, branches, and leaves normally.
Moreover discussions are also being held next week to determine the appropriate amount of inflorescence households could keep for health purposes. If this does not exceed a set limit they would not have to seek permission to do so but if the amount is excessive or for commercial purpose application would have to be made.
Applying for permission is not difficult as it could be done online. The qualifications of the distributors are being reviewed for submission to the Committee on Protection and Promotion of Cultural Heritage chaired by the permanent secretary after which it will be submitted to Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul for signing, said Dr. Yongyot.
Marijuana plant. Photos: NNT