Much to people’s dismay, the Thai House of Representatives decided to vote against keeping the Cannabis and Hemp bill on its agenda.
This decision was taken on Wednesday when 198 votes were cast to quash the bill in comparison to the 136 votes that were given in favor of it. Bhumjaithai Party, which supported the legislation, also expressed its opposition to its withdrawal.
Chada Thaiset, a Bhumjaithai MP stated that there might not be enough time to forward the legislation through the current parliament session which ends in March 2023, if the bill is withdrawn. However, the Democrat party objected to the idea of cannabis being removed from the narcotics list and threatened to vote against the bill if it wasn’t withdrawn in the house of representatives.
Many MPs were concerned at the amount of attention the bill had garnered and stated that there has been news that people consuming cannabis could become mentally ill and violent and the Ministry of Health should step in to ensure that the drug is only administered for medical purposes.
The Democrat MPs were also not in favor of the provision in the bill that allowed the general population to grow cannabis plants which could be used for recreational purposes and be detrimental to society, in their opinion.
A Democrat MP from Krabi, Ms. Pimrapee, said that the legalization of cannabis would suggest a drug-positive attitude by the government, which could prove to be harmful to young and impressionable people. In her constituency itself, there has been rampant drug use, though most cases were not related to the consumption of cannabis.
Before its withdrawal, the Cannabis and Hemp bill was vetted by a House committee and was about to be shared with the Parliament for a second reading.
Speaking to the concerns raised by Democrat MPs, Bhumjaithai Party spokesman Paradorn Prisnananthakul said that the bill had been drafted in a way to ensure the safe consumption of cannabis, especially for medical purposes. According to him, objections could be raised during the second reading of the bill and corrections could be made to correct any possible shortcomings, instead of just suspending the bill altogether.
“The bill being deliberated is intended to provide clear guidelines for the use of cannabis. If this legislation were dropped, there would be a vacuum regarding the use of cannabis,” Mr. Paradorn said.