09 May 2024, 11:06

Thai PM calls for illegal drugs crackdown

BANGKOK, May 9, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has
vowed to crack down on illegal drugs, saying that possessing "even one pill"
should be punished, and ordering officials to press ahead with plans to
recriminalise cannabis.

The Thai government announced plans to re-list cannabis as a narcotic in
February, after decriminalising the drug in 2022.

The kingdom was once notorious for its tough drug laws, but it has sought to
cash in on the global boom in medical marijuana in recent years.

Thailand is also an important transit country for opium and methamphetamine -
- much of it produced in war-torn Myanmar.

"The drug problem is a national agenda that all agencies must work together
to solve the problem seriously," Srettha said Wednesday on social media
platform X saying he wanted to see progress within 90 days.

Anyone involved in drugs should know that "even one pill" could mean
prosecution, he wrote.

Srettha, who took office last August and has frequently voiced his opposition
to recreational cannabis use, said he had asked the health ministry to speed
up moves to recriminalise the drug.

The ministry said in February it planned urgent action, but little has
changed, and the hundreds of legal cannabis "dispensaries" that sprang up in
the wake of liberalisation still operate.

The government wants marijuana restricted to medical purposes, after Thailand
became the first country in Southeast Asia to approve such use, in 2018.

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