Thailand To Give Away One Million Cannabis Plants, Minister Announces
The Thai government will give one million cannabis plants to households across the nation for free this June.
The country’s health minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced the news on 8 May following January’s ruling that people can grow cannabis plants at home in Thailand.
In a statement shared on Facebook, Charnvirakul said he intends for cannabis plants to be grown like ‘household crops’.
The rule will come into force on 9 June and means as long as people notify their local government, they can grow the plants from the comfort of their own home, however cannabis can only be used for medicinal purposes.
Reporting on the news, CNN notes that the ruling is part of Thailand’s plan to push cannabis as a cash crop. According to the outlet, a third of the country’s labour force works in agriculture.
Following up on the news in a second post shared on 10 May, Charnvirakul added that correctly registered Thai companies could then sell cannabis products.
However, said products must contain less than 0.2 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the component of the plant that causes a high.
Charnvirakul confirmed: “This will enable people and the government to generate more than 10 billion baht per year in revenue from marijuana and hemp.”
Speaking to CNN, Kitty Chopaka, a cannabis entrepreneur based in Bangkok, emphasised that the new ruling is focused on the medicinal use of cannabis.
Chopaka said: "It will still be considered criminal if you don't have a legal prescription and you have to be a patient of some form of ailment for this to work. Only then will you be able to grow cannabis at home and use it however you like."
UNILAD has approached Charnvirakul’s office for comment.
Thailand is notorious for its harsh approach to drugs and strict penalties for drug-related crimes, which can result in the death penalty.
The UK government’s website states: “If you’re found guilty of being in possession of 20 grams of a Class A drug on exiting Thailand you risk receiving the death penalty.”
In 2018, Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to legalise cannabis for medical use. Speaking at the time, lawmaker Somchai Sawangkarn said the amendment’s passing should be considered ‘a New Year gift to Thais’.
He confirmed: "The amendment (on the Narcotics Bill) passed the second and third readings today. And will become effective once it is published on the Royal Gazette.”
The National Legislative Assembly's 166 members voted in favour of the amendments and no one used their vote to object to the motion, although 13 people abstained.
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