Thailand To Ban Recreational Cannabis Use by Year-End

Thailand To Ban Recreational Cannabis Use by Year-End
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The Facts

  • Thailand's Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew told Reuters on Wednesday that the government will ban the recreational use of marijuana by the end of 2024 and only allow the drug's use for medical purposes.

  • In 2018, Thailand became the first Southeast nation to legalize medical marijuana, while it fully decriminalized cannabis in June 2022. Consequently, tens of thousands of cannabis shops opened across the country in an industry projected to be worth $1.2B by next year.

The Spin

Narrative A

It was time to crack down on cannabis, which has been poorly regulated since its legalization nearly two years ago. Moreover, its recreational use has not only caused drug-fueled violence and substance abuse issues among young people, including children, but it has also substantially increased people seeking treatment for cannabis-related psychological issues. Thailand must drive the economy, but not at the expense of public health.

Narrative B

Banning the recreational use of cannabis would hugely impact tourism as well as hurt the growing multi-billion-dollar industry, and leave small business owners and farmers without a livelihood. Also, because the move would be impractical to implement given how big the industry has grown, the government must call for more discussion on the best way to control a traditional herb or fix lax enforcement of existing regulations before putting cannabis back on the narcotics list.

Nerd narrative

There's a 50% chance that legal international trade in recreational cannabis will take place by 2030, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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