State schools

Cannabis soon banned in public schools

Cannabis soon banned in public schools

Ministry concerned about effect on students

The Department of Education plans to issue an ordinance making public schools cannabis-free zones following the recent decriminalization of the plant.

Education Minister Trinuch Thienthong said on Wednesday she was concerned about the impact on students.

Ms Trinuch said every school affiliated with the ministry will be declared a cannabis-free zone and the ministry must ensure teachers and students understand the pros and cons of using cannabis.

As such, a discussion will take place with the Department of Health of the Ministry of Public Health to obtain more details about the plant and any potential side effects of using cannabis as an ingredient in food and beverages, including cookies, bread and juices.

Ms Trinuch cited the recent case of a Thai man who died of heart failure after ingesting cannabis.

Later, the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) will instruct Education Service Area offices to strictly contain the use of cannabis in schools, with standards to certify its use as an ingredient in food and drinks, she said.

The move is backed by Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt, who said schools affiliated with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) have a responsibility to ensure students have a more comprehensive understanding of cannabis.

Mr Chadchart insisted he did not intend to obstruct government policy, but rather to ensure the health and safety of the public.

He referred to recent cases of four people who were hospitalized after overusing the plant, although the results of investigations into their cases by the BMA’s medical services department are still pending.

Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary of the ministry, said he would speed up the release of preventive measures to tackle drug abuse.

As the Cannabis and Hemp Law has yet to be enacted, the government may impose more regulations related to the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Kiattiphum said.

Since cannabis was removed from the list of narcotics, parts of the plant can now be used for medicinal purposes.

Dr Kiattiphum said cannabis can be used to make products that will help the economy rebound from the fallout of the pandemic.

However, people should be wary of using the plant recreationally due to the potential risk to their mental health.

All extracts containing more than 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound of the plant, are still classified as illegal narcotics.

“Even though cannabis has been removed from the list, it must be controlled. We have issued an advisory to prevent people from smoking it, as it may affect their mental health or cause traffic accidents,” said Dr. Kiattiphum.