No Confidence Debate – Day One. Opposition attacks Anutin for botched cannabis laws.

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As expected, today’s censorship debate in the Thai parliament kicked off with the opposition targeting Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. Last week, opposition parties revealed their tactics to attack party leader Bhumjaithai, who brings some 60 votes to the coalition table.

Today they launched directly into their attacks on the Mercurial Deputy Prime Minister who has championed the decriminalization of cannabis since the launch of the Bhumjaitahi Party’s election strategy ahead of the March 2019 elections.

The top minister was the first of the senior cabinet ministers to be questioned by opposition MPs during the first of four sessions today of a no-confidence motion targeting Prayut Chan-o-cha and at least 10 ministers.

The opposition has accused Anutin Charnvirakul of “causing social problems and violating local and international laws” by supporting decriminalization laws in Thailand without proper checks, balances and legal framework, leaving massive confusion and misinterpretation by the public Thais and foreigners in Thailand. .

The Pheu Thai party’s chief opposition whip released an election campaign video of Anutin to parliament promising that Bhumjaithai would “bring people happiness by allowing them to grow cannabis”.

“Cannabis would be sold and used to make food and prevent and treat disease, and even be smoked in private.”

At the time, cannabis products were still included in Thailand’s Narcotics Act as a category five illegal substance.

The opposition whip accused the Department of Public Health of decriminalizing cannabis on June 9 without any local laws to control its use, saying it was a “violation of international law”.

Thai political pundits have acknowledged that the changes to allow cannabis decriminalization were just a political ploy to keep Anutin’s parliamentary influence secure with at least 51 Bhumjaithai MPs, plus nine more since the recent defections, and had little to do with the Thai cannabis update. laws.

The complete 180-degree reversal of Thailand’s stance on cannabis regulation has pitted the Southeast Asian country against all other ASEAN partners who maintain much stricter cannabis regulations, especially concerning the “recreational” use of the drug.

The opposition also claimed Thailand’s new cannabis policy also violated Article 66 of the constitution, which required the country to cooperate with international organizations and protect the public interest.

“Cannabis is damaging the brains of young people… There will be serious social problems.”

He noted that medical, religious and judicial organizations in Thailand have expressed opposition to cannabis use since decriminalization. Universities, schools, government and private workplaces and religious institutions have all had to hastily draw up their guidelines since the general and rather opaque announcement of decriminalization on June 9.

The no-confidence motion will also target the waste of public funding and the mismanagement of Thailand’s Covid-19 restrictions under the current government.

The debate will last all this week with the very important votes of no confidence on Saturday.

Political pundits say that even despite some recent walkouts and the instability of the 17-party coalition, the opposition may not have the numbers to bring down Prime Minister Prayut or any of his ministers.

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