Thailand Approves Home Cannabis Cultivation—A First for Asia

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Thailand has scored a victory for cannabis liberation, with an official reclassification of the plant that will allow home cultivation—at least for medicinal purposes. While it remains unclear how much freedom the new policy will actually afford, it undoubtedly represents a cultural and political leap for all of Asia. Cannabis ‘Delisted’  The country’s Food & Drug Administration on January 25 approved an updated list of illegal drugs that no longer includes the cannabis plant. The moves comes in response to a draft proposal from the Public Health Ministry, and was approved weeks earlier by the Narcotics Control Board.  Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul is the leader of the Bhumjaithai Party, a somewhat dissident, comparatively progressive member of the generally conservative ruling coalition. The party was allowed to join the coalition government following the 2019 elections that ended a period of military rule—despite the fact that it had made cannabis legalization a centerpiece of its platform. Clearly, the party’s influence has been felt. Anutin said the delisting “responds to the government’s urgent policy in developing marijuana and hemp for medical and health care benefits, developing technology and creating income for the public.” The delisting of all parts of the cannabis plant as “Category 5” narcotic substances still has to be signed by the health minister—a mere formality. It will enter into effect 120 days after the new list is published in the government’s Royal Gazette. Attorneys and law enforcement agents contacted by the Associated Press said it’s unclear if possession of cannabis will no longer be an offense subject to arrest.  The change ostensibly comes under the rubric of a limited medical marijuana program. This program has until now has stipulated that only oils and extracts may be used, and they must be derived from plants with less than 0.2% THC. It is as yet unclear whether use of herbaceous flower will be permitted,…

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