Tue, June 28, 2022

in-focus

Legalisation of marijuana still engulfed in cloud of confusion


Coalition partner Bhumjaithai Party presented draft bills related to cannabis and hemp to the Cabinet on Wednesday after the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) removed marijuana from the list of Category 5 narcotics.

ONCB’s decision came after the Public Health Ministry’s controlled drugs committee approved a draft to remove marijuana from the narcotics list on January 20.

This legislation will allow nearly every part of the marijuana plant to be removed from the list of controlled substances except for buds and flowers which produce tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) of more than 0.2 per cent.

ONCB said it will collect information and analyse the legislation before it is signed by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and announced in the Royal Gazette before going into effect within 120 days.

How does the legalisation affect consumers?

Though marijuana has been removed from the list of Category 5 narcotics, it is still a controlled substance and the process of growing, extraction, manufacturing and usage will be controlled by the Cannabis and Hemp Act.

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Growing:

  • Individual growers must register with relevant authorities.
  • Commercial growers must be authorised by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Extraction and processing:

  • Must be authorised by the FDA.

Selling, exporting or importing:

  • All products made from marijuana must be authorised by the FDA and nothing laced with cannabis that can be eaten, chewed, drunk or kept in the mouth can be sold to people under the age of 20, pregnant women, nursing mothers or people at risk.

Advertising:

  • No advertising allowed unless authorised by the FDA.

However, even though marijuana has been removed from the list of Category 5 narcotics, there is still a lot of confusion about how it can be consumed.

Anutin has insisted that all recreational use of marijuana is illegal and those misusing it will face legal action. Yet there is a loophole in the law saying individuals only need to register with an agency without requiring authorisation from the FDA. No details have been provided about which agency is in charge.

Dangers of legalisation

Chitlada Areesantichai, director of Chulalongkorn University’s Centre for Addiction Studies (CADS), said the centre has studied 29 samples of marijuana-laced food products over the past two months.

The aim of the study was to see if the amount of THC present in the products crossed the legal limit and found that drinks on average had 0.214 to 0.231 per cent of THC, while a cookie could have 0.498 per cent.

Meanwhile, dry food like noodles can have as much as 32 to 35 per cent of THC, the study showed.

Chitlada also pointed out that people may inadvertently consume more THC as there is no way of keeping the consumption in check. Sellers might also up the THC content in their products to boost sales.

Published : January 29, 2022

By : THE NATION