Prime Minister-designate Hun Manet has voiced his firm stance against the cultivation of marijuana in Cambodia, regardless of potential revenue streams as suggested by “lobbyists”.
“Some have lobbied for the growing of marijuana in our country, but I am absolutely against it because it’s not in the public interest,” he said without naming names.
“They suggest planting marijuana for medical purposes, like in Thailand. But could we control it if we legalise it? Marijuana remains illegal in our country, but some still grow it against the law, as were the cases in Takeo province,” he added, citing a series of crackdowns reported over the years.
“Why grow marijuana in Cambodia when we have thousands of other cash crops to choose from,” he asked rhetorically.
Yong Kim Eng, president of the People’s Centre for Development and Peace (PDP), supported Manet’s firm stance.
“Cambodia should never allow marijuana cultivation. It’s a drug. It can be refined, posing challenges for the country.
“Not cultivating marijuana and prohibiting its use in Cambodia is prudent due to health impacts,” he opined.
Thailand has emerged as the first Asian nation permitting legal marijuana cultivation and usage, albeit under strict regulations and for medical reasons.
In Cambodia, the government remains stringent. Growing marijuana incurs penalties and frequent raids are conducted, with Takeo and Battambang provinces reporting the most cases.
The National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD) revealed that within the first seven months of this year, authorities confiscated nearly two and a half tonnes of drugs, leading to the arrest of over 11,300 suspects.