One million homes will be given cannabis plants across Thailand, to mark the legalisation and attract foreign tourists – to be used for ‘medicinal purposes’ only
Thailand will give out one million free cannabis plants from June 9 to homes across the country, to mark the legalisation of the drug. The legislation aims to promote commercial cultivation.
People will be allowed to grow the medical-grade plant after notifying their local government – and while certain rules will still apply, there has been little specified about how these will be monitored by the authorities.
After being badly hit by the pandemic, due to the lack of tourists which boosts Thailand’s economy, the Thai government now hopes that more easing of restrictions will allow a major new cannabis industry to blossom, adding millions of dollars to the economy.
The benefits of commercial cultivation
Thailand was the first in south-east Asia to sanction medical use of marijuana in 2018, even though it has a harsh reputation for having a zero-tolerance policy on drugs.
However, Anutin Charnvirakul, the public health minister, announced the mass handout on his Facebook page, while outlining the benefits of commercial cultivation, signing a measure officially dropping cannabis from a list of controlled drugs.
One aim is to attract foreign tourists, who have recently begun returning in large numbers, to a well-regulated medical and wellness industry.
The plants will have to be of medical grade and used only for medicinal purposes
The Bangkok Post newspaper has reported that the Food and Drug Administration has now already received about 4,700 applications by late last month for licences to import, possess, grow, and produce cannabis and hemp.
So far, the rules have stated that people may possess and use all parts of cannabis plants – including flowers and seeds – however, extracted content will remain illegal if it contains more than 0.2% of the psychoactive ingredient that produces a “high”, known as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
Finally, the cannabis plants grown at home cannot be used for commercial purposes without further licences, although, again, the authorities have not specified how they will monitor these rules.
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