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Thailand health minister to hand out 1 million free cannabis plants

The country is preparing to legalise home cultivation for medicinal use in June.



Thailand is set to give out one million free cannabis plants to citizens, as the country prepares to legalise home cultivation for medicinal use.

Public health minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, announced on Sunday 8 May that up to one million free cannabis plants are to be handed out to citizens following the legalisation of home cultivation this June, Nation Thailand reported.

Thailand became the first country in South East Asia to legalise medical cannabis in 2018 and has continued to push towards wider access over the past four years.

Under current laws, it is legal in Thailand for registered companies to sell cannabis products if they contain less than 0.2 per cent of the plant’s primary psychoactive compound THC.

In January of this year, the Thai government announced that it planned to remove cannabis from its drugs list and allow households to grow the plant for personal use, provided it is medical grade and used for medicinal purposes only.

In a Facebook post, Charnvirakul announced that people in Thailand will be allowed to grow “as many cannabis plants as they like” in their own homes. The public health minister said the move is set to bolster the country’s economy which has taken a hit during the pandemic due to travel and tourism restrictions.

“This will enable people and the government to generate more than 10 billion baht [per year] in revenue from marijuana and hemp,” Charnvirakul said.

“Meanwhile, people can showcase their cannabis and hemp-related products and wisdom and sell their products nationwide.”

Under the new laws which will come into effect on 9 June, entrepreneurs and businesses could compete freely in Thailand’s cannabis market, Charnvirakul added.

While small operators will not be required to register with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), large cannabis-related businesses will have to request permission from the FDA to produce and market their products.

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