Cannabis smuggling undercuts local Thai growers

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Long-promised legislation to set out a clear legal framework failed in February to get through parliament, leaving the country without an umbrella law to regulate its use and cannabis smuggled in from abroad has meanwhile saturated the market, driving down wholesale prices and hurting growers.

Thailand’s decriminalization of cannabis has delighted its fans, alarmed some health experts, and posed a challenge for prospective cash crop farmers who have been undercut by illegal imports.

Cannabis has also become a contentious election issue, with the opposition criticizing the ruling coalition in the run-up to May 14 polls for what critics claim was rushed decriminalization last year to the detriment of society, and youths in particular.



Thousands of cannabis shops and businesses have sprung up, especially in Bangkok and tourist spots, since Thailand became the first Asian country to decriminalize the plant.

However, long-promised legislation to set out a clear legal framework failed in February to get through parliament, leaving the country without an umbrella law to regulate its use.



Cannabis smuggled in from abroad has meanwhile saturated the market, driving down wholesale prices and hurting growers.
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told Reuters that importing any part of the plant without permission was prohibited and should be stopped. (NNT)