Thailand to donate cannabis plants for home cultivation

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Thai Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul speaks during a press conference at the Ministry of Public Health in Nonthaburi, Thailand, February 8, 2022. Photo: AP

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Thai Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul speaks during a press conference at the Ministry of Public Health in Nonthaburi, Thailand, February 8, 2022. Photo: AP

Thailand’s public health minister, who has led the country’s efforts to decriminalize cannabis, says the government will distribute 1 million plants for free when most legal restrictions on the production and possession of the drug are lifted next month. next.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul signed a measure in February officially removing cannabis, better known as marijuana, from a list of controlled drugs. The tightly regulated use of cannabis was legalized in 2018, with several restrictions being gradually relaxed since then.

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Thai authorities hope a major new cannabis industry will flourish, not only generating hundreds of millions of dollars directly each year, but also attracting foreign tourists, who have only recently begun to return in large numbers after being widely absent during the coronavirus pandemic.

When the measure takes effect on June 9, the possession and use of all parts of cannabis plants, including flowers and seeds, will be permitted. However, the extracted content will remain illegal if it contains more than 0.2% of the psychoactive ingredient that produces a “high” — tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

Anutin said on his Facebook page on Sunday that individuals will no longer need to acquire a license to grow cannabis at home, as long as it is declared for medicinal purposes and does not have a THC content above the maximum. legal. Thai officials have not explained how the conditions can be enforced. Anutin said with few details that one million cannabis plants would be distributed from June and people could grow as many as they wanted at home.

Big companies will still need permission from the country’s Food and Drug Administration to manufacture cannabis products, which are considered to be used primarily for medicine and food additives.

The Food and Drug Administration received about 4,700 applications as of the end of last month for licenses to import, possess, cultivate and produce cannabis and hemp, the Bangkok Post newspaper reported. He quoted an FDA official as saying products slated for production include hemp seed oil, dietary supplements, beverages, seasoning sauce, jelly beans and instant foods.

Anutin’s Bhumjai Thai party, a major coalition government partner, campaigned in the 2019 general election for the legalization of cannabis production, saying it would help the country’s farmers.

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