For a while there, it appeared that Thailand and the military regime were preparing to take new steps to update the worn and losing campaign against illicit drugs. Instead, the people in charge of reforming and modifying policies have largely doubled down on the old ones. The losing ways of the country's war on drugs will remain in place and dominate the amended and now patchwork Narcotics Control Bill.
The bill is currently under discussion by the regime-appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA). The true state of affairs, however, is that the future direction of drug policy is clear. The "new" 183-section law stresses and emphasises the same old steps: crackdowns, raids, arrests, imprisonment. It is as if the regime and its NLA and Constitution Drafting Committee have considered that while drug policies of the past have clearly failed, that is simply a sign that there has not been enough enforcement and prison time.
The good news first, because there isn't much. There are new articles in the now bloated Act that mention drug abuse. Nominally, they allow for reduced penalties instead of the almost mandatory imprisonment of the former bill. The new law, presuming it passes the NLA -- almost a certainty -- will allow for rehabilitation.
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