Thousands apply for ‘weed licenses’ prior to delisting of marijuana as a narcotic

Cannabis will be delisted as a narcotic in Thailand on June 9, and thousands of people and organisations have already submitted applications for a “weed license” to Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration, or FDA.

The big questions such as “Can my home grown marijuana plant contain high levels of THC?”, “Does my medical condition qualify for cultivating and consuming marijuana at home?” and “Do the same rules apply to Thai nationals and foreigners?” are yet to be answered.

The license allows individuals or companies to import, possess, grow and produce cannabis or hemp. So far, the FDA has received 4,717 applications. The licenses will allow companies to use marijuana as an ingredient in medicinal products, cosmetics and food and drinks.

An FDA official said that 80 licenses have been issued thus far for the production of cannabis, hemp and cannabidiol, or CBD, products, including hemp seed oil, dietary supplements, beverages, seasoning sauce, jelly candy and instant food.

Without FDA approval, marijuana remains an illicit drug in Thailand. Possession of 10 kilograms of cannabis or more is a crime punishable by 15 years in prison and carries a fine of 1.5 million baht. Consumption of marijuana carries a jail term of one year and a fine of 20,000 baht.

Currently, Thailand is pushing the medicinal and economic benefits of CBD, rather than tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The Thai law currently allows marijuana products to contain less than 0.2% THC.

However, the first US-owned medical cannabis clinic in Thailand predicts that changes to the Thai law will be made following the delisting next month which could allow higher levels of THC to be used in medicinal marijuana products, such as oil used to treat a range of illnesses such as Parkinson’s, cancer and insomnia.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul previously told the public they may grow marijuana in their own homes from June 9, under strict conditions. Anyone who wants to cultivate marijuana at home must first get the green light from the FDA. Firstly, they must notify the public health office in their province about how many marijuana plants will be grown, where exactly they will be grown and for what purpose (it must serve a medicinal purpose). The office will forward the proposal to the FDA and once it is approved, marijuana can be grown legally at home.

While Anutin said you can grow “as many plants as you like,” individual households can in fact grow up to six marijuana plants at home with approval from the FDA. Those who are registered as a community enterprise (at least seven people) and have sought a license from the FDA can grow an unlimited number of marijuana plants. Only community enterprise marijuana can be extracted into products for sale with a THC concentration of lower than 0.2%. Home-grown marijuana cannot be advertised for sale, unless it has been given special approval by the FDA.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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