Thailand Wants to Allow its Citizens to Grow Medical Marijuana

Thailand is looking to accelerate its medical marijuana program by allowing its citizens to grow cannabis at home and then sell their supply to the government.

The Kingdom of Thailand has proposed changes to its medical marijuana program that would allow citizens to personally grow six cannabis plants and then sell them to the government to make medical marijuana products.

The proposed changes are aimed at increasing the country’s medical marijuana supply.

“We are in the process of changing laws to allow the medical use of marijuana freely,” Thailand Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced in Bangkok last week. “We have high confidence that marijuana will be among the major agricultural products for Thai households. We are speeding up the law changes. But there is a process to it.”

Thailand became the first Southeast Asian nation to legalize medical marijuana on Dec. 26, 2018. The industry has continued to gain momentum since then. Thirteen hospitals have been awarded licenses to dispense medical marijuana to patients.

The country’s health minister also hopes the proposed change will provide Thais with an opportunity to boost their incomes by growing cannabis. He proposed that each individual mature marijuana plant could be sold to the government for USD $2,225, meaning a household could sell its allotment of six plants for $13,350. The average annual salary in Thailand is currently around $8,200.

The policy change was alluded to in September when Charnvirakul’s Bhumjaithai Party announced it was working on a bill that would permit personal cannabis cultivation.

The Thailand government also announced recently that it had constructed the largest industrial-scale medical marijuana facility in Southeast Asia. The facility, located in Chiang Mai, is currently growing 12,000 cannabis plants. Thailand’s Government Pharmaceutical Organization hopes to use those plants to produce one million bottles of cannabis oil by early next year.

Thailand authorities have also used marijuana plants seized from the illicit market into medical marijuana products.

Legislation Surrounding Foreigners

Thailand is also currently working on legislation that would allow foreigners to participate in its medical marijuana program. The Ministry of Public Health has crafted language that would allow foreigners to own up to 33 percent of shares in a marijuana cultivation firm.

Once implemented, the Narcotic Control Board under the Health Ministry will oversee licensing.

The new rule would allow also allow tourists who are medical marijuana patients to apply for a license to bring into the country up to a 90-day supply. Licensed tourists would be required to carry their doctor’s approval that details their personal contact information, the nature of their illness, the type of specific strain they are recommended, the amount recommended, and information about their doctor.

Adult-Use in the Future

Charnvirakul has indicated that he believes Thailand will eventually pursue the legalization of recreational use marijuana, but not during the current government’s four-year term.

“We need more research and study before we legalize the recreational use of marijuana,” said Charnvirakul.

As of now, those convicted of marijuana possession in Thailand can face long term prison terms and big fines.

The growing of hemp was legalized two years ago in Thailand.

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