As of today, the Thai Cabinet has approved an amendment to the country’s narcotics law, which will allow private production and sale of medical marijuana, which is an essential step for the Thai marijuana market. The amendment proposed last month has cleared the Cabinet, but it still needs to be approved by Parliament before it can officially become law.
Thailand has become the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize medical marijuana to a certain extent, which has become a hot spot. However, initially, only the Thai government could grow hemp, so the industry was very restricted and could not develop further due to all restrictions. If, as many have predicted, if the five-year ban on private-sector cannabis finally lifted, everything in this country’s industry will change.
The current state of cannabis in Thailand
The current restriction is that only national institutions can produce, import, or export cannabis to or from Thailand. The government, government-supported farmers’ groups, or anyone outside the university, cannot apply for a permit. Besides, it is illegal to apply for a new cannabis cultivation license. The current date for applying for a new license is 2024, which makes many people frustrated with the industry’s development prospects.
Under this new system, once passed, people from outside Thailand will be able to participate in the industry. They will not be able to hold more than one-third of the company’s shares. In other words, Thais must still be major shareholders in all cannabis companies, but people of different nationalities can eventually get involved. International travelers can now also apply for import or export permits to bring marijuana into or out of the country to treat diseases.
“The law will promote the pharmaceutical industry and increase competitiveness, which will be important for Thailand in becoming a leader in medical cannabis,” Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul explained. Those who obtain a license will be eligible to sell or produce cannabis, instead of just holding power in the hands of a few people.
Besides, Thailand finally removed cannabis extracts from its narcotics list and advanced to open medical cannabis clinics. Although cannabis has become a medically legal drug in Thailand since 2017, the pace of the industry is still languid. Cannabis still belongs to Thailand’s five categories of drugs, which means that the possession of cannabis may be subject to up to 15 years of imprisonment or severe Penalties for fines. In some countries in Southeast Asia, marijuana trafficking is still punishable by the death penalty, so these actions are essential to Thailand. Being able to buy and sell legal cannabis on the market is also a big step forward.
Thailand still has a long way to go before it can have a health industry or full legalization, but if this amendment is passed, the medical marijuana industry in Southeast Asia and the world will open up many exciting new possibilities in 2021.
This article is issued by High Times.