Thailand Prime Minister Back Peddles On Legalizing Weed As Crime Rises After Decriminalization

(REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa)

Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin wants to outlaw marijuana two years after legalizing the drug due to crime rising after its decriminalization, The Associated Press (AP) reported Wednesday.

This marked an interesting turnabout for Thailand, which was the first country in Asia to legalize the substance, the outlet noted.

The prime minister posted the changes in policy in Thai on Twitter. “The drug problem is a national agenda that all agencies must work together to solve the problem seriously so that drugs can be eradicated … I have asked the Ministry of Public Health to amend the ministerial regulations,” Thavisin tweeted, according to a Google translation.  The Thai official also observed that there would be an exemption from this ban for those needing weed for medical reasons. (RELATED: Lopburi, Thailand, Plans To ‘Jail’ Thousands Of Monkeys In Last-Ditch Effort: REPORT)

When cannabis was decriminalized for medical use in 2018 and for recreational use in 2022, the Deccan Herald reported.

Thavisin became prime minister in August 2023 and filled a historic role as the first civilian to be elected to the position since the country’s 2014 military coup, France 24 reported. Thavisin has been vocal in his opposition to the use of the drug for recreational use since taking office, the Deccan Herald reported.

Cannabis advocates oppose the new change and argue that the drug contributes to economic progress in the country through weed tourism, providing a new cash crop for farmers and spawning new business retail opportunities, The AP reported. Cannabis use in Thailand increased after legalization, an academic study that was published in 2023 observed.