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Thailand to give away a million free cannabis plants to households, says minister

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced the move in a Facebook post on May 8, in which he expressed his intention that cannabis plants should be grown as “household crops.”

The new rule, which takes effect on June 9, will allow people to grow cannabis plants at home after notifying their local government, but the plants must be of medicinal quality and used exclusively for medicinal purposes. In addition, cannabis cannot be used for commercial purposes without additional licenses.

The move is the latest step in Thailand’s plan to promote cannabis as a cash crop. About a third of its workforce works in agriculture, according to the World Bank.

In a region notorious for harsh penalties for illegal drugs, Thailand became the first country in Southeast Asia in 2018 to legalize cannabis for medical research and use.

The kingdom has also loosened local laws around cannabis. Thai beverage and cosmetics companies rushed last year to launch products containing hemp and CBD, a compound that does not give users a high after their use was approved for consumer goods.

In a further Facebook post on May 10, Anutin noted that Thai companies registered to do so could sell cannabis products containing less than 0.2 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the part of the plant responsible for to get people to eat.

“This will enable the people and the government to generate more than 10 billion baht a year in revenue from marijuana and hemp,” wrote Anutin.

A worker inspects flowering cannabis plants at a legal marijuana plant in Thailand.

Kitty Chopaka, a Bangkok-based cannabis entrepreneur, told CNN that the law was intended to pave the way for people to use the plant in medicinal teas or soups.

“It will still be considered criminal if you do not have a legal prescription and you have to be a patient with some kind of disorder for it to work. Only then will you be able to grow cannabis at home and use it as you will. .”

She added that although recreational use of the drug remained illegal, “it will happen to smoke cannabis and there is no way [government] can stop it. “

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