BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): The Democrat Party announced on Wednesday (Sept 14) that it could not support the Hemp and Cannabis Control Bill in the second reading due to health concerns of doctors, teachers and parent.
The party held a press conference to announce that its meeting on Tuesday had resolved to ask a special House committee, which had vetted the bill, to withdraw the draft.
The party wants it suspended pending a decision by the Public Health Ministry on whether to annul its directive on removing cannabis from the narcotics list amid calls by the public.
Democrat MP Satit Wongnongtoey told the press conference that the party had held a meeting on Tuesday and many party MPs had discussed the issue.
He said the party’s resolution was based on concerns of doctors and the narcotics research centre of Chulalongkorn University’s Public Health Science College that the bill would have severe negative impacts on society, especially on children and the youth.
During the meeting, the Democrat MPs discussed that the delisting of cannabis from the Category 5 Narcotics List in early June had led to abuse of the substance and many had suffered mental issues and it had harmed the people, causing concern among parents and teachers.
Satit said the Democrat Party initially supported the bill in principle in the first reading, expecting the bill to be vetted to include sections that would support the use of cannabis for medical purposes only.
Democrat Party to oppose cannabis bill in second readingBut after the bill had been vetted and returned to the House for the second reading, the Democrats found it still had several loopholes, including:
- The bill would still promote and encourage the public to grow marijuana.
- The bill would allow general members of the public to grow marijuana.
Satit said Democrats disagreed with the policy of allowing the public to grow marijuana because it would have no use for medical purpose, and instead the people could plant marijuana for recreational use.
Satit said the party had made two resolutions:
- The government and the Public Health Ministry must review the public health directive that removed marijuana from the narcotics list and reinstate it on the list.
- The bill’s loopholes must be plugged to prevent recreational use of marijuana.
Satit said the panel that vetted the bill must withdraw the draft and must revise it after the Public Health Ministry has reconsidered its directive.
Satit said the Democrat Party called on the Public Health Ministry to remove only hemp from the narcotics list and allow the use of marijuana strictly for medical purposes.
Satit said when the House deliberates the bill in the second reading, Democrat MPs will debate against it if the ad hoc panel does not withdraw it for amendments.
He said the Democrat Party would inform the coalition whips of its stand and explain that its resolution was based on the opinions of the people, medical circle, parents and teachers.
Democrat Party to oppose cannabis bill in second readingThe party has no ulterior political motive and it hoped the coalition partner that proposed the bill would understand, Satit said.
He was referring to Bhumjaithai Party of Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. During the previous election, the party had campaigned on the policy to remove marijuana from the narcotics list.