Officials in Thailand announced on Nov. 13 that the country is considering a law that would allow its own citizens to cultivate medical cannabis and sell the crop back to the government.
According to Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, this unique idea could set it apart from the rest of the global industry’s typical approach to medical cannabis regulations. “We are in the process of changing laws to allow the medical use of marijuana freely,” Charnvirakul said. “We have high confidence that marijuana will be among the major agricultural products for Thai households. We are speeding up the law changes. But there is a process to it.”
Charnvirakul believes that if cannabis was fully legalized, it could become a crop that is more lucrative than “rice, sugarcane, tapioca, rubber” or other popular agricultural goods. However, there are numerous drawbacks to the idea of citizen-grown cannabis, mainly the fact that not all cannabis grown will be up to par with medical grade industry standards. Forbes states that some higher quality cannabis plants require ample nutrients and proper lighting, and only the best would be purchased by the Thailand government.
Legislators in Thailand have been making slow but steady progress on medical cannabis laws. Most recently in early September, researchers at the Maejo University in Chiang Mai planted 12,000 cannabis seeds, which were provided by the Department of Medical Service. Forbes reports that the Government Pharmaceutical Organization’s (GPO) goal is to craft one million cannabis oil bottles (filled with five milliliters each) by February 2020. The university has developed a strain called “Issara,” or independence which reportedly contains a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD. Forbes reports that the Government Pharmaceutical Organization’s (GPO) goal is to craft one million cannabis oil bottles (filled with five milliliters each) by February 2020.
“These are historic first steps on the path towards allowing people to grow six cannabis trees in their homes,” Charnvirakul said. “The university will be a centre where ordinary people can learn how to plant and grow good quality cannabis. Cannabis is not an issue of politics, it is a product that can benefit people’s health. In the near future, families will be able to plant it in their back gardens like any other herb.”