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Weed Arrests, Trials to Be Halted Thursday When New Cannabis Law Takes Effect

Inmates sit on the floor during an inspection visit in the long-term sentence zone inside Klong Prem high-security prison in Bangkok.
Inmates sit on the floor during an inspection visit in the long-term sentence zone inside Klong Prem high-security prison in Bangkok.

The Office of Judiciary will halt most ongoing cannabis-related trials and detentions once new cannabis laws take effect on Thursday.

Judiciary Office spokesperson Sorawit Limparangsri recently disclosed that cannabis-related offenses resulting in court cases and detentions prior to June 9 will be dropped and any bond payments returned. Those imprisoned in related trials for failing to pay fines will also be released.

Defendants awaiting decisions will have their cases dismissed, but they must still appear in court to hear their rulings. On the matter of prison releases, the court will review them on a case-by-case basis before issuing a court order as some cases could still result in jail sentences. The spokesperson also urged relatives of prisoners to submit requests for the review.

The production, import, export, distribution, consumption and possession of cannabis — with the exception of psychoactive substances — will be formally legalized on June 9 when an announcement issued by the Ministry of Public Health and published in the Royal Gazette on Feb. 9 takes effect.

Under the new regulations, all parts of cannabis and hemp plants, except for extracts containing more than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol, the plant’s psychoactive ingredient, will be removed from the narcotics list.