Photo by Planet Ware
Thailand hopes to become Southeast Asia's medical cannabis destination.
It wasn’t long ago that Thailand made waves after becoming the first official country in Southeast Asia to legalize medical marijuana and promote its use for various illnesses and conditions. But now, the country is one step closer to becoming a pot-friendly destination after decriminalizing the plant and removing it from the list of controlled substances.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul penned an agreement and ministerial announcement yesterday that made Thailand the first Southeast Asian country to decriminalize cannabis while removing it and hemp from its category five placement on Thailand’s list of controlled narcotics.
Thailand’s plans to promote the use and loosen regulations around cannabis have been well underway for a few years. In 2019, the Bhumjaithai Party won over voters by making cannabis legalization a core aspect during the election three years ago. Now that Charnvirakul is health minister, he hopes decriminalizing cannabis and removing it from the narcotics list will start a “new history for cannabis in Thailand, he said at the signing ceremony yesterday.
Photo by Don Mackinnon / AFP
The minister has gone on the record several times regarding cannabis and that it has “plenty of medical benefits,” reports The Diplomat. He says marijuana is no “different from other herbs,” and the Thai government is working day in and out to help people “enjoy both medical and economic benefits from it.”
Back when Thailand officially started implementing the medical cannabis program in 2020, the government would only permit the sale and prescription of extracts and oils. But now, the Associated Press reports that yesterday’s signing agreed upon decriminalizing all parts of the marijuana plant like the seeds and flowers, which are now legal to consume. We should expect to see the new law roll out 120 days after it’s initially published in the Royal Gazette, according to The Diplomat.
Photo courtesy of Carlos Osorio / Reuters
The new law decriminalizes the use of marijuana seeds and flower, but all extracts and oils must meet regulations that cannot exceed 0.2% THC. Anutin has never been a fan of nationwide legalization for recreational use; he’s made it clear that medical cannabis and promoting its use are the two top priorities.
The Thai government will still thoroughly regulate the production and sale of medical cannabis and isn’t planning on decriminalizing homegrown weed any time soon. Finally, a new bill regarding hemp and cannabis will be given to parliament to help create a regulatory framework for its production and retail sale.
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