Thailand has become the first country in Asia to de facto approve the decriminalization of marijuana, although authorities have left a gray area around its recreational use.
Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced that the Drug Control Board has approved the removal of cannabis from the list of controlled drugs.
The delisting by the ministry's Food and Drug Administration now must be formally signed by the Minister of Health and takes effect 120 days after it is published in the government gazette.
Police and lawyers contacted by the Associated Press said it was unclear whether possession of marijuana would no longer be an arrestable offense. A tangle of related laws means that the production and possession of marijuana currently remains regulated, leaving the legal status of recreational marijuana use in a gray area.
The Department of Health measure keeps parts of the cannabis plant on its list of controlled drugs that contain more than 0.2% by weight of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, a psychoactive ingredient that makes users high.
Thailand in 2020 became the first Asian country to decriminalize the production and use of marijuana for medical purposes.