Health Minister insists cannabis is not a narcotic, high-inducing THC still illegal

Photo via Facebook / อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล (Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul)

Cannabis is not a narcotic drug… at least that’s what Thailand’s Public Health Minister is saying. In an interview with Thai media, Anutin Charnvirakul said cannabis (not with the high-inducing component THC) is legal and can be grown as well as used for medical purposes, adding that authorities should let residents grow the once-criminalised plant and sell cannabis as a way to earn an income.

Anutin, who is also the deputy PM and leader of the Bhumjaithai Party, has been a vocal advocate of medical marijuana, pushing for it to become a cash crop and touting the uses of products with the non-psychoactive component cannabidiol, or CBD. After some Thais were arrested for reportedly growing the plant at home and selling it, Thai media raised questions to the pro-cannabis minister, asking for a clear explanation on whether the plant is actually legal.

Anutin cited the recent revisions to Thai law that state that using parts of cannabis for medical purposes is legal if the plant contains no more than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which causes euphoric effects. Anutin says growing and using the plant, as long as it is low in THC, is legal in Thailand.

He also added that the state authorities should be pleased that residents have alternative ways to make more money. The law said clearly that it is not a drug, so authorities shouldn’t obstruct people from earning a living.

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The health minister ended that he and his party, Bhumjaithai, has been working to legalise cannabis for three years. Cannabis, with the exception of THC-rich buds, was taken off Thailand’s narcotics list. CBD is now legal to use and numerous cafes have popped up over the past year serving teas and dishes made with cannabis leaves with very, very low THC content.

SOURCES: Thairath | Dailynews

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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