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“Dr. Ganja” is helping promote medical marijuana in Thailand

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: TIT, the government has come up with a mascot to promote its new stance on marijuana and cannabis - thairath.co.th

The Thai health ministry has come up with a plush toy character to encourage children to better understand Thailand’s current stance on marijuana and cannabis, now championed by the Health Minister as a new agricultural industry in Thailand.

Yes, that’s a photo of the Thai PM holding a toy Dr Ganja doll which will be used to promote marijuana and cannabis education to Thai kids and the wider public.

Thailand’s medical marijuana industry is set to become a 660 million US$ (around 20 billion baht) business by 2024, and the Thai Health Ministry is introducing its new mascot “Dr. Ganja”, a green plush toy to help educate the public about the benefits of medical cannabis.

Dr. Ganja is, apparently, meant to reflect Thailand’s growing acceptance of cannabis and marijuana for medical purposes.

Although Thailand began allowing the medical use of cannabis products last year, the plant has not yet been decriminalised, and possession and trafficking can still lead to prison terms and fines.

But Thailand’s Deputy PM Anutin Charnvirakul is championing cannabis as a cash crop for Thai farmers and wants to create cannabis plantations and processing facilities, and to promote local hospitals to become pioneers of medical cannabis.

Anutin is even openly canvassing the legalising of recreational marijuana, a major reversal of the government’s stance just a year ago.

Anutin Charnvirakul’s Bhumjaithai party is a vital key to the coalition’s cling to power and his stance on marijuana and cannabis, whilst contrary to the conservative views of Phalang Pracharat Party and PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, is being tolerated for the sake of stability of the coalition.

This week the government opened Thailand’s first medical marijuana clinic, offering free cannabinoid oil and care to patients with a particular list of ailments, believed suitable for treatment with cannabinoid products. Hundreds of patients visited the clinic on the first day and thousands more have expressed interest through the clinic’s mobile app.

Community groups in the northeastern Buriram province are being encouraged to grow and cultivate medical grade cannabis to be delivered to a state-owned hospital. This is part of Anutin’s “Buriram Model,” intended as a prototype for cooperatives between farmers and medical institutions.

The Thai government has invested 100 million baht (3.3 million dollars) in the first indoor growing facility which opened last year, with a plan to produce one million bottles of cannabis oil by February 2020.

“Thailand has shown itself to be a leader of legislative drug reform among Asian nations. Especially in relation to medical cannabis,” according marijuana market researchers Prohibition Partners.

“This is likely to be the case with recreational cannabis also, particularly if there remains strong political will to do so.”

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

"Dr. Ganja" is helping promote medical marijuana in Thailand | News by Thaiger "Dr. Ganja" is helping promote medical marijuana in Thailand | News by Thaiger

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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