Constructive noises from the Bhumjaithai Party and Mr Anutin’s plea to the new government to protect the nascent cannabis industry comes in a week which has seen a shift in attitude by the establishment towards the election results with increased optimism that a new government will be formed in July rather than in August as was originally envisaged.

The incoming government must act cautiously concerning calls to relist cannabis as a scheduled narcotic, warned Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul this week. He told reporters, on Sunday, that he believed there will be a new government in July led by Pita Limjaroenrat while denying reports of an approach by the Move Forward Party to the Bhumjaithai Party to support the new ministry in parliament.

On Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul suggested that it is unlikely that Pita Limjaroenrat will not become Thailand’s next Prime Minister in July. Earlier this week, he called on the new incoming government to study all the available information and not to derail the rise of a beneficial cannabis industry in Thailand alongside the easier availability of the drug to those with medical needs.

Outgoing Minister of Public Health, Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has told reporters that he thinks it unlikely that the Move Forward Party and Mr Pita Limjaroenrat will fail to forge a new government in July despite ongoing questions being raised about Mr Pita’s status and a possible contretemps with the Pheu Thai Party over the House Speaker position which may come to the boil on Tuesday.

However, he appeared to be more concerned about the pre-election pledge by the parties to the incoming coalition and the commitment given in the Memorandum of Understanding for the new government to relist marijuana or cannabis as a scheduled narcotic.

Anutin: Success of cannabis and its medical benefits to the public should not be thrown away and lost by again scheduling cannabis as a narcotic

Mr Anutin questioned both the wisdom and practicality of such a move pointing out the scientific and administrative process within his own ministry and the need to consult with other agencies such as the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB).

He also points to the growth of the cannabis industry, which benefits the economy and the unmistakable evidence that the drug has medical benefits and should be made available for those who require it for such purposes.

He urged his successor in the new government to reach out and gather more information about this before again criminalising the drug leading to tougher enforcement by the Royal Thai Police.

He said that it took three years after he first entered government to liberate access to the drug and advised that any move away from the current situation should take time and be considered carefully by the incoming cabinet.

Anutin was a somewhat controversial minister in the outgoing government linked with the Covid crisis

The comments by the prominent, sometimes controversial minister and deputy PM in the outgoing government, who is very much associated with his role in the Covid crisis and national shutdowns as well as the sudden legalisation of marijuana, were less dismissive and more considered that his previous position which was that a reversal of the new marijuana regime was impossible.

Recreational cannabis use can be legalised under the current law being passed through parliament

His latest comments come in the same week that the Bangkok establishment and the government of General Prayut appeared to shift their stance with an acceptance that there will be a new administration in Thailand within weeks.

During the week, it was reported that Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha had begun to clear out his offices and apartments to be ready for Thailand’s next Prime Minister, the 30th to hold the position.

On Sunday, Mr Anutin also denied rumours that his party had come to some arrangement with the Move Forward Party to support a new government.

Reports of the Bhumjaithai Party supporting Move Forward and Pita’s quest for power dismissed in reports circulating on Sunday quoting Anutin

The reports appeared to be coming from Mr Newin Chidchob, the party’s most influential member and known to be at the forefront of its decision-making process.

Mr Anutin said he had not discussed the matter at all with Mr Newin in his daily talk with the Buriram-based leader of the powerful political dynasty at the helm of the Bhumjaithai Party.

Instead, he indicated that his talks related to the party’s performance in the May 14th General Election and its failure to obtain its minimum objective of 80 seats with the latest figure giving it 72 seats in total, an additional constituency seat recently confirmed by the Election Commission.

New PM in July a turning point for the Thai economy in 2023 which could still see 4% GDP growth recorded

He also said that the Bhumjaithai Party would not nominate a candidate for Speaker of the House of Representatives when parliament is scheduled to meet for the first time on Monday, July 3rd with a new Prime Minister due to be elected on July 13th and a new cabinet appointed on July 21st.

It was thought up to last week that a new government would not be in place until mid-August at the earliest.

Bhumjaithai Party Minister of Transport Saksayam Chidchob says his party supports the democratic principle and Move Forward as the election winners

It follows a statement from Minister of Transport, Saksayam Chidchob who is also Secretary-general of the Bhumjaithai Party, rejecting reports circulating that the party would nominate two United Thai Nation (Ruam Thai Sang Chart) Party MPs for the role of Speaker.

Mr Saksayam told reporters that no discussions within the party could take place until all Bhumjaithai MPs meet for the first time in parliament.

The senior outgoing minister said that the party was awaiting the outcome of the negotiations between the proposed coalition government being forged by the Move Forward and Pheu Thai parties.

He also said reports about the Move Forward Party leader Mr Pita Limjaroenrat’s ineligibility for the role of Prime Minister were all, as yet, hypothetical.

‘Bhumjaithai respects the democratic principle which grants this right to the election winners,’ he stated.

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Further reading:

Thai Marijuana tycoons ponder mixed messaging from the Move Forward-led coalition on the drug

Crackdown on crime wave against Chinese tourists in Bangkok as concerns also raised on cannabis

Dispirited Prayut exits stage left after Chuwit addressed him by megaphone on new liberal cannabis policy

Cannabis revolution targeted as MPs and public confront the Bhumjaithai Party’s populist gambit on pot

Emergency Room admissions for cannabis up 566% as parties call for it to again be criminalised

Drugs to be an election issue as Anutin digs in insisting that attitudes must change on cannabis

Recreational cannabis use can be legalised under the current law being passed through parliament

Recreational use of pot to be recriminalised as Minister warns abuses are undermining his plan

Warnings as fears grow over recreational cannabis use as Thai man is left impotent by self-harm act

Marijuana revolution and overdoses raise concern with calls for action to outlaw recreational use

Legal pot does not appear to be working for Anutin’s Bhumjaithai Party in latest opinion poll

Cannabis remains illegal as ministers push through a law controlling its use by the public after decriminilisation

Sex, drugs and alcohol as Chiang Rai party-goers arrested in the midst of the growing virus emergency

Thai man burns down his family home: Thailand’s drugs problem is still a very real threat to society