Legally grown marijuana to boost medical field, economy

PHOTO: Asia Times

In its weekly meeting yesterday, the Cabinet approved a Public Health Ministry proposal to amend the Narcotics Act to allow patients, medical practitioners and traditional healers to grow marijuana for medical and commercial use. The deputy government spokeswoman said the Cabinet approved the proposal submitted by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul to amend narcotics legislation enacted last year. Anutin, also a deputy PM, has long supported marijuana growth as a new agricultural industry to boost Thailand’s flagging economy.

The proposed amendment, if passed, will allow patients with a medical certificate, medical practitioners and traditional healers or “folk healers” to grow cannabis for medical treatment. The draft also allows manufacturers of medical products to produce, import and export or possess cannabis. Cannabis was officially removed from Thailand’s list of narcotics in January, but laws prohibiting its possession and use remain on the books.

The existing law allows only state agencies or those who sought permission (but must still work with state agencies) to produce, import or export cannabis, while medical practitioners and folk healers are not allowed to grow cannabis.

The Public Health Ministry held a public hearing to get views from people regarding the draft amendment on June 5. The draft will now be forwarded to the Office of the Council of State for examination before being sent to a coordinating House panel for consideration. The panel will then forward it to the lower House.

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The government hopes the amendment will enable manufacturers of medicinal cannabis products to compete in international markets.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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