The Public Health Ministry has introduced a new measure setting possession limits for various illicit drugs, under which individuals will be classified as drug users rather than traffickers or dealers, thus avoiding harsh legal penalties. The regulation, announced in the Royal Gazette on February 9 and signed by Public Health Minister Dr Cholnan Srikaew, aims to differentiate between personal use and drug trafficking.
According to the guidelines, possession of up to five methamphetamine pills or 500 milligrams, for example, will categorize an individual as a drug user who, under the law, is presumed to intend the drugs for personal consumption. Such individuals are encouraged to undergo rehabilitation instead of facing imprisonment.
The measure, a result of a public hearing and subsequent cabinet approval, also establishes limits for other substances. These include up to five units or 1,250 mg for MDEA, 300 mg for heroin, 100 mg for LSD, 1,250 mg for ecstasy, 200 mg for cocaine, 5,000 mg for opium, 30 ml for cannabis extracts with more than 0.2% THC, and 500 mg for ketamine.
Law enforcement officials are directed to use these limits as guidelines for prosecution, focusing on rehabilitation for those who meet the criteria. To avoid legal consequences, offenders must agree to enter a drug rehab program, complete it satisfactorily, and be certified as having done so.
Despite these new ceilings, Narcotics Suppression Bureau Commissioner Pol Lt Gen Kirisak Tantinwachai said possession of small amounts of drugs could still lead to severe penalties if there is evidence of intent to trade or export, noting that the regulation does not signify a lenient stance on drug offenses. (NNT)