People of Thailand are certain to be in high spirits come next month when the government will give away 1 million free cannabis plants for home cultivation.
Thailand’s public health minister, who has spearheaded the country’s drive to decriminalize weed, announced in a Facebook post Sunday the government will distribute 1 million of the plants when most legal restrictions on production and possession of the drug are lifted in June.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul added that people would be able to grow as many cannabis plants as they like at their homes.
In February, Charnvirakul signed a measure officially dropping cannabis, best known in the form of marijuana, from a list of controlled drugs.
Closely regulated use of cannabis was legalized in 2018, with several restrictions gradually eased since then.
Thai officials hope that a major new cannabis industry will blossom, not only generating hundreds of millions of dollars directly each year, but also attracting foreign tourists, who have only recently begun returning in large numbers after being largely absent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the measure goes into effect June 9, possessing and using all parts of cannabis plants, including flowers and seeds, will be allowed. However, extracted content will remain illegal if it contains more than 0.2% of the psychoactive ingredient that produces a “high” — tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
Anutin declared that individuals will no longer need to obtain a permit to grow cannabis at home, as long as it is declared to be for medicinal purposes and does not have THC content above the legal maximum.
Thai officials have not explained how the conditions can be enforced.
Large-scale growing operations will still need permission from the country’s Food and Drug Administration to make cannabis products, which are seen as being used mainly for medicines and food additives.
The Food and Drug Administration received about 4,700 applications by late April for licenses to import, possess, grow and produce cannabis and hemp, the Bangkok Post newspaper reported.
Anutin’s Bhumjai Thai Party, a major partner in the coalition government, campaigned in the 2019 general election for the legalization of cannabis production, saying it would benefit farmers.
With Post Wires