A proposal by Thailand's election-winning Move Forward party to reclassify cannabis as a narcotic a year after it was made legal is sowing panic in an industry that is projected to be worth up to $1.2 billion over the next few years.
Thousands of businesses have sprung up since the legalization of the consumption and growth of the drug, with numerous shops in Bangkok and other tourist areas offering "Best Buds" to delighted tourists and Thai smokers. But now, the prospect of a new government rolling back the free-wheeling market is making business owners like Netnapa Singsatit nervous.
"Tax cannabis, like cigarettes or alcohol, and enrich the nation. Don't put cannabis back in prison," said Netnapa, who runs the RG420 cannabis shop in Bangkok's Khao San Road tourist district.
"They should have empathy for us business owners," said Netnapa, one of some 12,000 businesses that have received three-year government permits to operate, according to official data.
The progressive Move Forward is pushing to form the next government after winning the most seats in a May 14 general election that saw voters clearly rejecting military-linked parties and yearning for a return to civilian-led democracy.
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