Soon, all Thai citizens will be allowed to cultivate up to six cannabis plants in their homes and sell the homegrown harvest to the government, for medical marijuana purposes.
The change is a result of the new Health Minister’s relaxed views on pot. Anutin Charnvirakul, the leader of the pro-marijuana legalization party Bhumjai Thai, was appointed health minister after sealing an agreement to join the ruling coalition formed by the military party of PM Prayut Chan-ocha.
Charnvirakul recently announced in Bangkok:
“We are in the process of changing laws to allow the medical use of marijuana freely. We have high confidence that marijuana will be among the major agricultural products for Thai households. We are speeding up the law changes. But there is a process to it.”
As part of the plan, the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) is aiming to successfully cultivate enough raw cannabis material to produce one million bottles of cannabis oil—distributed in 5 millilitre units—by as early as February 2020.
Earlier this year the Government Minister for Health, Anutan Charnvirakul, told voters that each mature cannabis plant sold to the government could net them $2,225.
This means that Thai citizens could supplement their income—which on average is just $8,200 per year—by as much as $13,350, if they can successfully sell all six cannabis plants.
However, the government’s cultivation experts have warned Thai citizens that it can be difficult to cultivate plants that produce medical grade cannabis and many plants are often not suitable.
While amateur growers will still be able to produce low-grade marijuana, it seems unlikely that many will have the necessary resources to cultivate the high quality cannabis needed for medical use.
According to Thai Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, the country is “in the process of changing laws to allow the medical use of marijuana freely.”
Anutin’s main argument for legalizing marijuana is that it could be a more significant and lucrative crop for Thailand than rice, sugarcane, tapioca, rubber, or other produce grown in the nation’s mostly agrarian economy. By allowing adult use, the Health Minister also believes private growers could earn more natural profits with less quality control.
Anutin suggests Thailand’s low wages could also quantify competitiveness in international markets, compared to larger, foreign cannabis companies. If the nation capitalizes on the versatile and potentially medicinal plant, Anutin also believes Thailand could gain a competitive advantage by creating niche strains for exportation.
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