In a surprising twist, Thailand’s Cabinet has approved a proposal that will allow patients to grow cannabis for medical purposes.
Thailand’s Public Health Ministry submitted a bill proposing an amendment to the countries existing Narcotics Act, receiving approval from Thailand’s Cabinet on Tuesday. To become law, the bill needs to be approved again by the Council of State for Legal Scrutiny and Thailand’s parliament.
If passed, it will allow patients, health professionals and farmers to grow, produce, distribute, import and export cannabis for medical purposes. This permission will be given at the discretion of the Public Health Ministry, who will oversee those approved. Currently, only government organisations can produce cannabis.
The bill will also give the Ministry the ability to use seized cannabis for medical purposes, decreasing the amount of seized cannabis that is destroyed by the state.
Although Thailand has been known for its harsh anti-drug laws, their harsh stance on cannabis has been changing. Medical cannabis was legalised in 2018, along with kratom (a locally grown plant used for pain relief).
Thailand also welcomed two medical cannabis clinics back in January, allowing patients to obtain doctor prescribed cannabis oil. With raging success, more clinics have been promised in Bangkok. In February 2020, Thailand’s government had already produced around one million bottles of CBD oil, after planting over 12,000 cannabis plants in November.
Asia’s medical cannabis market is expected to be valued at over $5.8 billion in 2024. The bill is being backed by Public Health Minister Anutin Charvirakul, who has celebrated the legislation.
We are in the process of changing laws to allow the medical use of marijuana freely. Cannabis is not an issue of politics; it is a product that can benefit people’s health.
In Australia, cannabis could generate $2 billion in tax revenue annually. You can read that story here.