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Thailand authorizes self-cultivation of up to 6 plants per family

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Photo: DR | Cannabis Catalysts

Thailand's Minister of Health, Anutin Charnvirakul, announced this week that Thai families can grow up to six cannabis plants each to supplement their income, reported the Bloomberg. The measure follows policies that alleviate penalties on cannabis and that even promote its cultivation and marketing in this Asian country. 

Families can now form communities to grow cannabis and supply part or all of their crop to public hospitals, state institutions, or use it to make food and cosmetics as a new source of income.

In just a few years, Thailand went from one of the countries that most penalized cannabis consumption to one of the most progressive in terms of legalizing the plant.

Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health of Thailand, stressed that “cannabis and hemp are economic crops and provide a new option for local residents to generate income”. The Minister spoke on the sidelines of an educational cannabis exhibition in Buriram, which is 400 kilometers northeast of Bangkok. “We are trying to ease restrictions to allow the public easier access to the plant, but please cooperate and use it correctly,” he warned.

Recreational use is still prohibited
Although Thailand was the first Southeast Asian country to legalize medical cannabis, in 2018 its use for recreational purposes is still banned. All flowers and seeds harvested at home must be sent to state medical facilities as they remain in the country's penal code due to their high levels of psychoactive compounds, the minister said.

The rest of cannabis, including leaves, stems and fibers, as well as hemp plants, have been decriminalized and can be used in food and cosmetics since December last year. Anutin was elected in 2019, after a race in which the focus of his political party's campaign was the legalization of cannabis.

While some restrictions remain, allowing families to grow cannabis is a big step forward for the industry. Thailand is thus on par with Sri Lanka, which allows limited growth of the plant by state-licensed growers and for medicinal purposes only. The Philippines is also considering allowing the plant to be used to treat epilepsy, but cannabis, in most other Southeast Asian nations, remains banned and, in some countries, is still punishable by death.

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