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The marijuana amnesty. What does it mean and how can I apply?

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The Thaiger neither endorses, recommends or has any opinion on the possession or use of marijuana. This information is merely provided as a service to our readers.

So, the big question, how can you RIGHT NOW, legally, smoke or use marijuana in Thailand? Thais and expats living in the kingdom now have new options following the enactment of a law allowing the use of medical cannabis.

Though there will always remain a core of ‘hush hush’ users, the Government is encouraging people to come clean in a new legal framework so that they are able to better implement the new laws and introduce legal drugs for cultivation and sale.

Like all things ‘Thai’ there is likely to be plenty of confusion moving forward, particularly in the early days but authorities are now rolling out the amnesty and new laws. But be prepared for a bit of red tape.

Please note: The contents of this article are provided in good faith and are a basic guideline to the new laws and amnesty. At all times you should check your personal situation by speaking to your local medical professional or calling the hotlines (listed below) before you proceed.

As of now, if you possessed cannabis before the law was passed, you can now register under an amnesty that went into place last week enacted by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

If you application for registration is approved under the amnesty, officials will countersign and register your documentation as proof of their legal status. If your application is rejected the applicant will have their marijuana seized but you will be free to walk away without prosecution.

Importantly, Thai authorities are stressing that the amnesty is real and, if you register in good will there will be no prosecution if your application is rejected for any reason.

For now the amnesty is limited to cannabis and not kratom, though kratom leaves are also now legal, for medicinal use.

People who have been using cannabis for approved uses as a treatment before the new law was passed need to obtain a medical certificate that will verify their condition from a certified dentist, doctor or Thai traditional medicinal practitioner.

You then need to register with the FDA. Foreign nationals are also able to register.

You will need…

• Identification documents (Thai ID Card or passport)
• a medical certificate which includes all the relevant medical condition under treatment
• Download the application form, fill it in with your details and ID along with the name and registration numbers of your medical practitioner.

(As with any other formal document in Thailand, it’s in Thai so get a Thai friend to help you fill it out. THere’s a link to the application form HERE.)

The fine print…

You will need to bring the marijuana you’ve been using with the application. Department staff will need to visit your premises if the amounts are too large to bring along with you.

Under the interim amnesty you’ll be allowed a stock for your personal use up to 90 days.

For quantities over that amount, you will either have to hand the rest of your stash into authorities or fill out another form justifying the additional quantity. That form is HERE.

If you are unable to, or wish to have, someone represent you at the Department offices, you can nominate a representative. There is space in the application forms to sign up a proxy to do the paperwork in person for you.

The offices of the FDA are in Bangkok or, if you’re unable to go to Bangkok, you are permitted to take your application to a local Provincial Public Health Office. The FDA office in Bangkok website HERE.

The location of the FDA offices in Bangkok is HERE.

Tourists…

For tourists you will need to make a separate application, if you want to be ‘legal’ under the new laws and amnesty during your visit to Thailand. Failure to do so could see you marijuana confiscated when you arrive in Thailand. If it is for ‘medical’ use then you will need to fill a separate for HERE. This will declare the marijuana in your possession.

Tourists will then have to go through the same rigmarole with the FDA or Provincial Health officers. As tourists, they will need to show proof of their traveling – tickets, booking confirmations, passport, etc.

You should bring your medical prescriptions with you to show Customs officers. This will help you avoid prosecution and get your seized marijuana returned when you depart the country.

Of course none of the forms are currently available in English, well, for now anyway.

You can also call a hotline at the FDA. There’s an English option by calling 1556, Extension 3. The Narcotics Control Board has another hotline 1386, Extension 3. The hotlines operate normal Thai business hours from 8:30am-4:30pm, Monday to Friday (closed on Thai public holidays).

 

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Cannabis

Cannabis drinks now available in Thailand convenience stores

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Ichitan is now selling cannabis drinks across Thailand. (via IchitanGroup.com)

From darkened back alleys to brightly lit 7-11 aisles, people in Thailand can now get their once-illegal cannabis fix in flavoured drinks at convenience stores and vending machines. The nation’s biggest bottled tea producer Ichitan Group has launched 2 new drinks with terpenes, the compounds that give that ganja smell.

The cannabis drinks Ichitan launched are not aimed at the party crowd like other combinations of drinks and controlled substances – they are less Four Loko at the club and more sipping while curled up with a good book. One is a terpene scented sugar-free camomile green tea and the other is a lemon and terpene infused sweet green tea. Cannabidiol or other psychoactive elements have been left out of the teas.

These cannabis drinks are selling for 30 baht across Thailand in 7-11 stores, malls, conveniences stores, and more than 13,000 vending machines. Ichitan is hoping to sell 500 million baht worth of the teas this year as the first company to nationally mass market cannabis products. Their CEO said the “urban new generation” is their target demographic and that being first to market is an important strategy.

Thailand first legalised registering medicinal marijuana in 2019, but in January restrictions were loosened to open the gates to various products and usage. Restaurants and cafes sprung up cooking hemp dishes, and bars created hemp-infused cocktails. People can now get a permit to grow hemp and manufacture and sell cannabis products. Thai law still treats hemp and cannabis differently as hemp is almost completely free of THC and is traditionally used for making clothes, rope, paper and similar products from its strong fibres.

Ichitan admits that the cannabis used in their drinks aren’t fully legalised yet, though they expect the entire supply chain and process to be approved soon as the cannabis legalisation trend grows around the world. Farming is still only allowed with strict government observation, and the narcotic use of ganja is only allowed for cultivation, research and medical use.

Recreational use is not permitted in Thailand yet, though 16 states in the US allow it, and Mexico has legislation pending. Medicinal marijuana is legal in 50 countries already.

Covid-19 has delayed a surge of cannabis progress in Thailand, with businesses on lockdown and a Bangkok cannabis convention postponed from April 19-20 (4/20 – cannabis enthusiast’s magic number) to July 19-20, as well as a seminar on cannabis extracts cancelled yesterday.

But in Thailand, the government sees huge potential, with MFC Asset Management planning Thailand’s first hemp-related mutual fund with expectations of over 17% annual growth over the next 5 years. Farmers could grow hemp and cannabis with large profits, and the Thai government is even eying a tourism boost for medical tourism and just plain curious travellers.

SOURCE: Nikkei Asia

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Cannabis may ease lung inflammation from Covid-19, study

Neill Fronde

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Stock photo by Washarapol D Bin Yo Jundang for Pexels

Cannabis may help ease and reduce lung inflammation for Covid-19 patients, according to a recent study. Researchers in the study claim the non-psychoactive component of cannabis, cannabinol, or CBD, has anti-inflammatory properties.

More research should be done on how CBD and treating severe lung inflammation from the coronavirus, according to researchers from University of Nebraska and the Texas Biomedical Research Institute indicates. Their recent peer-reviewed article in the latest issue of Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity investigates cannabis’ anti-inflammatory qualities.

Covid-19 can cause inflammation that leads to pneumonia which can clog lungs and cause breathing difficulties, an often deadly symptom of the coronavirus. This is why researchers are emphasising anti-inflammatory treatments for infected patients.

“There are drug treatments like Tocilizumab that clears patients’ lungs with a 90% success rate, but the side effects are harsh, including the risk of coronary artery disease and pancreas inflammations. Cannabis may be a key solution since it doesn’t carry such severe negative side effects.”

The CBD treatment made from cannabis does not carry the same effects of THC or smoking marijuana would, though THC has also been shown to be anti-inflammatory but is with more side effects. Cannabis already carries FDA approval, even being used for children with intractable epilepsy.

Aside from anti-inflammatory use, CBD also reduces several factors that contribute to severe Covid-19 cases and also increases proteins that prevent the virus from replicating by activating immune cells. Previous studies with asthmatic animals showed CBD reduced airway inflammation as well as pulmonary fibrosis, which can be an after-effect of Covid-19 damaging and scarring lung tissue causing breathing problems.

The cannabis study on lung inflammation shows that doses up to 1500 milligram a day were safe for up to 2 weeks. The researchers also noted that as an added bonus CBD reduces anxiety, something very useful for the stress of life during a pandemic. Helpfully, cannabis was recently legalised in Thailand and the government has been drafting regulations on importing it.

While the article doesn’t directly link cannabis as a treatment for Covid-19, the evidence on CBD’s effect on lung inflammation, a dangerous symptom of coronavirus, makes further research worthwhile. The researchers urge further research to experiment if cannabis can be directly incorporated into Covid-19 treatment to help with inflammation and anxiety too.

SOURCE: Forbes

 

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Thailand

Thailand drafting new regulations for cannabis and hemp seeds

Thaiger

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Photo by Rick Proctor for Unsplash

A new regulations for cannabis and hemp seeds imports is in the works by Thailand’s Agriculture Department. With certain parts of the cannabis plant now off the narcotics list, many are tapping into the market for CBD, or cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component in hemp and cannabis.

With the rising demand for hemp and cannabis, the department is revising regulations to make the rules more clear, according to department’s director general, Pichet Wiriyapapha. Those importing cannabis and hemp seeds will also need to get permission from the department. He says they plan to announce the new plan on cannabis and hemp seed regulations in May.

“Now we have only four strains of hemp developed for higher fibre yield, but not for the strain for higher CBD that is currently required for cosmetics and healthcare products. That is why we do need to actively develop such a strain to respond to the high demand in the market.”

CBD is known for its relaxing effects. Although there is still little research to back the claims, many say CBD can lesson anxiety and depression as well as provide relief for muscle pain and arthritis. In Thailand, CBD is growing in popularity, but parts of the cannabis plant high in the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, are still classified as a Category 5 narcotic.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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