AN ONLINE poll seeking public opinion on whether the Thai government should legalize the use of marijuana has so far resulted in nearly 80 percent of respondents saying “yes”.
Even more interesting is that those who agreed with the proposal said the authorities should allow marijuana to be used for both medical and recreational purposes.
In the still-ongoing survey posted on Saturday by Thai Visa, respondents were asked to select one of three answers to the question: Should marijuana be legalized in Thailand?
As of 9am Monday, of the 230 who voted, only 14 respondents or 6.54 percent said they felt it was not a good idea.
The remaining respondents voted “yes”, with 33 or 15.42 percent saying marijuana should only be permitted to those with “medical conditions for which it is suspected or known for being effective”.
A total of 167 respondents or 78.04 percent said everyone should be allowed to use the drug. A demographic breakdown of the poll’s respondents was not available at the time of writing.
Thai Visa, which claims to be the world’s largest site about Thailand, explained that it put up the survey in response to recent remarks by a police officer from the narcotics unit that he disapproved of arresting those who use medical marijuana.
It noted that the Justice Ministry recently in remarks to ASEAN said that the country would not be legalizing the drug.
According to a report on Coconuts Bangkok early last week, however, there are efforts currently being made by both the government and private organizations to discuss the possibility of decriminalizing the use of medical marijuana.
The report said a public forum was held last Monday, during which four agencies agreed that marijuana should be removed from the list of illegal Category 5 drugs.
The four organizations with representatives at the meeting were the Crime Suppression police unit, Drug Suppression unit, National Agricultural Council and officials from the Council of State.
Currently, Thai law prescribes a five-year jail term and/or a THB100,000 (US$2,800) fine for those caught in possession of marijuana. Consumption, on the other hand, could land the accused in prison for a year and/or a fine of THB20,000 (US$570).