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Thailand Becomes the First Country in Asia to Legalize Cannabis!

The Ministry of Public Health has announced the removal of cannabis and hemp from the category 5 drug list is effective from Thursday, June 9. Cannabis cultivation and possession in Thailand were decriminalized.

As of June 9th, a person can grow or possess cannabis or hemp for household use, but they are required to notify authorities without having to seek permission. The Thai Food and Drug Administration has opened an online platform to facilitate registration. However, the import, export, extraction, or production of cannabis products still requires permission from authorities.

Although cannabis and hemp have been removed from the Category 5 drug list, except for the parts that contain THC in excess of 0.2% by weight, the two plants will not be legal until a draft bill to amend the Narcotics Act, proposed by the Ministry of Public Health, has been approved by parliament.

The bill, in essence, allows for household use of cannabis and hemp, which includes the growing of the plants for consumption or health purposes, but within the limits to be specified in the ministerial regulation. In Bangkok, growers will have to register with the city administration if they have residences in Bangkok and with provincial administration organisations if the growers are located in upcountry provinces.

The government has said it is promoting cannabis for medical use only, warning those eager to light up for fun that smoking in public could still be considered a nuisance, subject to a potential 3-month sentence and a 25,000 Thai baht ($780) fine. And extracted content remains illegal if it contains more than 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical that makes people high.

Thailand is seeking to make a splash in the market for medical marijuana, whose benefits are generally derived from other cannabinol chemicals the plant contains. Thailand already has a well-developed medical tourism industry, and its climate is ideal for growing cannabis.



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