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Thailand Legalizes Cannabis, But…

Cannabis possession and cultivation now legal in Thailand, but there's catch.
Cannabis possession and cultivation now legal in Thailand, but there's catch. /

June 9, 2022 -- It’s official. Thailand has become the first country in Asia to legalize the cultivation and possession of cannabis.

Thai cannabis lovers are celebrating and breathing a sigh of relief as the country’s Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul plans to distribute one million cannabis seeds starting on Friday.

It appears that the Thai people are now allowed to grow and consume whatever they want at home, as long as they register and declare it for medical purposes.

However, THC-rich extracts such as oil or other concentrates will remain illegal.

“We should know how to use cannabis,” Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul recently said. “If we have the right awareness, cannabis is like gold, something valuable, and should be promoted.”

Charnvirakul is the country’s biggest cannabis advocate although he cautions that if cannabis consumption becomes a nuisance (i.e. smoking in public), the government will intervene. He added the preference is to build awareness rather than cracking down and punishing people.

The other good news here is that at least 4,000 cannabis prisoners in Thailand will be released now that the law has changed.

Will Large Corporations Ruin Thai Cannabis?

While cannabis is now essentially decriminalized in Thailand, the government has yet to pass any laws to regulate trade. The government is sticking to its stance on the medical focus of cannabis, and many people are concerned on who might actually benefit from a cannabis industry in the country.

Thailand has the perfect climate for cannabis cultivation, and the economic benefits could be fantastic, especially when you consider the plight of local farmers.

Will large corporations swoop in and freeze others out as they’ve done in other countries? Or will the Thai people experience the benefits cannabis has to offer?

“People are excited to do business in Thailand, and it’s bigger than just one country, this is a hub for all of Asia,” Dr. Aimon Kopera, CEO of Geneomics Global, told The Bluntness in an earlier interview. 

“When Thailand legalized hemp in 2018 there was a lot of chaos. So many people wanted in, and the Thai government didn’t know whom to trust,” explained Kopera, who is a Thai native working to roll out cannabis innovation programs in Thailand.

“When people in Thailand think about cannabis, they’re thinking about cannabis as medicine. Not to get high but to use it for cancer, diabetes, sleep, weight loss…this oil helps them manage their treatments,” she said.

“Cannabis brings smiles back to the land of smiles.”

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