On September 26th, at the Government House, Dr. Chalnan Srikaew, the Minister of Public Health, addressed the media following a cabinet meeting. The discussion revolved around the control measures for cannabis use, especially after some medical professionals expressed their desire for the Ministry of Public Health to declare it as an urgent policy (Quick Win) for cannabis control. While some sections of the public disagree with the prohibition of growing up to 15 cannabis plants per household, others are concerned about its reclassification as a narcotic.
Dr. Chalnan elaborated that the ministry’s overall vision focuses on health economics, which means leveraging health to drive the economy. This encompasses various components, including medical hubs, academic research, health products, and potentially cannabis. The emphasis is not solely on cannabis but on its integration into the broader health economy.
When asked about the clarity on cannabis policies, especially since the laws have been under consideration for a long time, Dr. Chalnan mentioned that the Ministry of Public Health has expedited the process. The focus remains on medical cannabis for health purposes, which is the direct purview of the ministry. The legal framework is being developed to ensure the highest standards of quality.
Regarding the permission to grow 15 plants, Dr. Chalnan stated that the existing law would be reviewed to ensure that cultivation leads to standardized quality production for medical and health purposes. Any cultivation that doesn’t meet these standards might deprive people of opportunities.
In response to questions about recreational cannabis use, Dr. Chalnan reiterated that the ministry’s policy emphasizes medical and health benefits. Any activity or business that doesn’t adversely affect health or the overall well-being might be governed by other laws. However, the primary concern remains the health, development, and growth of children and youth in Thai society. Excessive or inappropriate consumption of any substance, including cannabis, can have detrimental health effects, similar to tobacco.
When probed about the progress of the Ministry’s declaration to reclassify parts of cannabis as a narcotic, Dr. Chalnan said that this matter could be considered alongside the law. The focus remains on substances that affect the nervous system, not just cannabis. Any declaration would be based on thorough deliberation to ensure maximum benefits without compromising health.