Most Thais back plan to reclassify cannabis, says survey

THE majority of Thais support the government’s plan to reclassify cannabis as a narcotic and limit its use to medical purposes, according to a survey.

About 76% of people who took part in a survey said they “totally agreed” or “rather agreed” with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s policy u-turn to re-criminalise the plant, according to a survey by the National Institute of Development Administration.

The poll was conducted via phone between May 14 and 15 among 1,310 Thai nationals aged 18 and above. About 23.4% disagreed with the move, while 0.9% declined to answer or said they had no interest in the issue.

The proposed policy reversal is another blow for Thailand’s nascent cannabis industry after decriminalisation was pitched as a way to boost agricultural income and the country’s wellness tourism industry.

About 75% of respondents support the restricted use of cannabis for medical reasons, while 19% said the government shouldn’t implement any policies to support the use of the plant, the poll showed.

Cannabis advocacy groups last week rallied to protest Srettha’s order, asking the government to reconsider the plan to protect the interest of a rising industry and a large community of growers.

Almost 8,000 dispensaries and a large number of consumer-agro firms have cropped up across Thailand, selling everything from cannabis buds to oil extracts and candy infused with the plant’s active chemicals. — Bloomberg

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