There was numerous hype earlier this yr in regards to the delisting of hashish and hemp crops from the Narcotics Code in Thailand. Nonetheless, there seems to be some confusion about hashish use throughout the nation and particularly, what’s permitted and never permitted with out a license. With a view to forestall misuse and a society-wide downside, the Thai authorities has been elaborating on the permitted use and sale of hashish in the previous couple of months.
This text examines the present state of the legislation pertaining to hashish, with a selected concentrate on worker use and the employer’s rights in these circumstances.
Present standing of the legislation
The delisting of hashish and hemp crops applies to their unprocessed elements and extracts containing lower than 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”). Due to this fact solely extracts that include greater than 0.2% of THC are nonetheless regulated by the Narcotics Code and require a license from the Thai Meals and Drug Administration (FDA). Smoking hashish in public stays prohibited and the utmost penalty for doing so is three-month imprisonment and a THB 25,000 superb.
Nonetheless, in apply, the delisting has led to misuse and abuse of hashish merchandise in Thailand, which has in flip led to societal issues. Vacationers appear to have the ability to readily buy hashish or cannabis-infused merchandise from avenue distributors. Abroad governments and embassies in Thailand have issued warnings to their residents, informing them of improper use and guaranteeing they don’t deliver any hashish again into their house international locations. There have been main well being issues, with cases of younger folks overdosing on hashish. As defined in our earlier article “The Effects of the Delisting of Marijuana in Thailand and Government’s Attempt to Address This,” many well being professionals objected to the delisting with out sufficient controls being put in place.
In response to those points, the Thai authorities has been contemplating the Hashish and Hemp Invoice, which is able to additional make clear and regulate the usage of hashish and hemp in Thailand. The way forward for the Invoice is nevertheless unknown because it was withdrawn earlier pending revision of its contents by lawmakers.
Within the meantime, the Thai authorities has set ahead some tips to make clear the permitted use of hashish and hemp merchandise, for instance:
- On 13 Could 2022, the Minister of Public Well being issued a notification regulating the sale and import of cosmetics containing hashish.
- On 16 June 2022, the Minister of Public Well being issued a notification prohibiting the sale of hashish to minors, use of hashish by pregnant and breastfeeding ladies and smoking hashish in public.
- On 18 August 2022, the Minister of Public Well being issued a notification regulating ready-to-eat meals sellers to show warning messages for meals containing hashish.
One such guideline consists of the Letter issued by the Division of Labor and Safety and Welfare (“DLPW”) on 28 June 2022 encouraging employers to problem a coverage setting out the restrictions on the usage of hashish by its workers within the office (“Letter”).
Pointers for employers
In abstract, the Letter issued by the DLPW states that:
- The Minister of Labour Division has issues about security within the office because the delisting of hashish as this will likely affect the staff’ focus and consciousness.
- The DLPW requests employers to problem inside insurance policies concerning the usage of hashish or hemp within the office to remind workers tips on how to safely use hashish/hemp.
- The corporate might instruct a certified particular person or arrange a committee to take care of the security of workers within the office together with checking the readiness of the staff once they begin their work.
- While hashish/hemp has been delisted, employers might prohibit the usage of these medication within the office, particularly for workers who work with machines and cars, as the usage of hashish/hemp by such workers might trigger critical accidents. The smoking of hashish may trigger respiratory points for patrons and subsequently needs to be fastidiously monitored within the hospitality and meals and beverage industries.
The DLPW has revealed a template that employers can use to problem their insurance policies for the office (“Coverage Template”). An unofficial English translation of the Coverage Template is included on the finish of this text.
Sensible issues for employers
When employers are utilizing the Coverage Template, it might be good apply to clarify to the staff why the coverage is critical (for instance, for sustaining security and peace within the office) to keep away from any misunderstandings by the staff.
Employers must also make sure that they don’t embody any guidelines which might be thought of unfair by the staff. Underneath Thai legislation, an employer (who has 10 or extra workers) is required to have work guidelines or rules of their office which the staff have entry. These work guidelines can embody self-discipline measures which might be authorized and truthful to its workers.  For instance, most work guidelines will include a rule that the worker should not devour medication within the office. Any inside insurance policies which might be launched ought to subsequently be in keeping with the work guidelines.
Penalties of misuse by workers
Within the occasion that an employer discovers that its worker is utilizing hashish within the office, there are a number of actions that the employer might take into account taking:
- Give a warning – the employer ought to collect proof of misuse after which give a verbal and written warning to the worker to not use hashish within the office. The written warning must also state that if the worker doesn’t adjust to the warning and engages in an unlawful act once more, he could also be terminated with trigger. Any notices given to the worker might be legitimate for one yr.
- Terminating with trigger – beneath Thai legislation, employers might terminate the worker with trigger beneath sure circumstances. Willfully disobeying the employer or deliberately committing a felony offence towards the employer are examples of “causes” that the employer can depend on. It is very important be aware that when terminating an worker with trigger, the employer should put this in writing and clearly specify the reason for termination. The employer would nonetheless be required to make sure funds, akin to the worker’s wages (professional rata price to the final day) and any collected unused annual depart.
- Terminating with out trigger – as an alternative choice to (2), if the employer needs to terminate the worker however doesn’t have sufficient proof to terminate with trigger, it may take into account terminating the employment with out trigger. The principle distinction with (2) above could be that the employer must make sure extra funds to the worker, together with severance pay and fee in lieu of discover (if any).
In each cases of termination (with or with out trigger), the employer must be conscious that there’s a risk that the worker might deliver a declare for unfair dismissal to the Thai courts. The employer ought to subsequently fastidiously take into account the info with a lawyer to find out the very best plan of action towards the worker.
The legislation regarding hashish in Thailand remains to be a piece in progress and subsequently, anybody who’s contemplating making the most of the delisting ought to proceed with warning and pay attention to the varied tips issued by the Thai authorities.
In an employment context, the employer ought to take into account issuing a coverage in keeping with the template offered by DLPW, taking into consideration that the coverage needs to be defined to the staff and stay truthful. If it discovers that an worker has been misusing hashish within the office, the employer ought to fastidiously take into account (ideally with a authorized advisor) its subsequent steps, as instructed above.