Thailand distributes 1 million cannabis plants to people to grow at home

Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister announced that the country will distribute one million cannabis plants free of charge to households to grow at home for medicinal purposes.

Those cannabis plants will be distributed to families as “home harvest” from June, when the new cannabis plant regulation comes into effect, the deputy prime minister and health minister said. Thai economist Anutin Charnvirakul said last weekend.

This regulation, signed by Mr Anutin in February and taking effect on June 9, allows people to grow cannabis plants at home after notifying the local government, but it must be medical marijuana, for medical purposes and may 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC the stimulant found in cannabis).

Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul (second from left) speaks during a news conference in Nonthaburi province, Thailand, May 12.  Photo: Thailand Plus.

Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul (second from left) speaks during a news conference in Nonthaburi province, Thailand, May 12. Picture: ThailandPlus.

Home grown cannabis is not intended for commercial use. Large cannabis companies are still required to obtain a license from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Thailand.

Kitty Chopaka, a Bangkok-based cannabis trader, said the regulation aims to pave the way for people to use cannabis in products like tea or soup for medicinal purposes.

“You can still break the law without a doctor’s prescription,” she said. “You can only grow cannabis at home and use it as you please while being treated for certain diseases.”

Late last month, the FDA received approximately 4,700 applications for permits to import, possess, cultivate, and produce cannabis and hemp. Bangkok Post News.

Mr. Anutin is leading efforts to legalize cannabis in Thailand. Cannabis was legalized in the country for research and medical use in 2018. Some restrictions on cannabis plants have since been gradually relaxed.

Thai officials hope the new regulation will help the cannabis cultivation industry thrive, not only directly generating hundreds of millions of dollars a year, but also attracting foreign tourists and helping the country’s tourism industry recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This move will help the Thai people and government generate more than $289 million a year from cannabis and hemp,” Anutin said.

Duc Trung (Corresponding AP/CNN)