cannabis-bill-in-limbo-after-house-meeting-lacks-a-quorum

The passage of Thailand’s controversial Cannabis Bill is expected to be further delayed after the House meeting collapsed this late afternoon due to the lack of a quorum.

After the House approved the deletion of the contentious Section 3 from the bill, MPs from both government and opposition parties started to leave the chamber, as the House continued to deliberate the remaining sections of the bill.

Section 3 stipulated that cannabis is not a narcotic drug.

After extensive debate on Section 7/4 of the bill, Deputy House Speaker Supachai Phosu, who chaired the meeting, realised that there were fewer MPs in the chamber. He then pressed the buzzer to tell MPs to enter the chamber and to identify themselves, by inserting their electronic ID cards before a vote was to be taken on Section 7/4, regarding the promotion of research on the medical use of cannabis by the Food and Drug Administration.

Suphachai then asked Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai, Pichet Chuamuangphan, to declare his presence in the chamber, only to be told by the MP “not to bother with the other people’s business.”

The deputy House speaker responded, saying that he had to do his job because there were not many MPs present in the chamber. He then waited for about half an hour before ordering officials to take a headcount of MPs present.

Only 214 out of a total of 439 MPs were present, six short of a quorum. The Deputy House Speaker then adjourned the meeting at 5.20pm.

 

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