On 8th May, Thailand’s health minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced on his Facebook page he will give away one million cannabis plants to Thai households in need of medical cannabis. The plants, which will be given out free of charge, will be grown for personal and not commercial use. In addition, the plants have to meet medical grade standards.
Thailand is traditionally a very conservative nation that has, for a long time, maintained strict anti-drug laws. In 2018, Thailand took a drastic turn and legalized cannabis, albeit for medical use. Cannabis containing less than 0.2% THC can be used as supplements or as cosmetic ingredients. However, recreational use of cannabis remains prohibited.
The health minister has promised to give out cannabis plants intending to have households grow cannabis like “household crops.” Households will be required to notify the local government should they choose to grow cannabis. The plants must be of medicinal quality and must be used for medical purposes exclusively. Thailand’s economy relies heavily on agriculture, with a third of the labor force being employed in the agricultural sector. The country intends to promote cannabis as a cash crop. So far, rice has been the most important cash crop with about 60% of farmers growing it. The new move by the health minister will see to it that cannabis edges out the dominance of rice as the preferred cash crop in Thailand.