Health & Science

Thailand removes marijuana from the list of narcotics and clears up legal confusion

Thailand removed marijuana from the list of narcotics, solving confusion on therapeutic use and making a clear step towards decriminalization of cannabis.

Marijuana cannabis therapeutic Thailand
Thailand will remove marijuana from the list of narcotics opening the door for therapeutic use and homegrown plants | © Julia Teichmann

The Narcotics Control Committee, related to the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand, agreed on January 20 on the conditions to remove marijuana, hemp and their derivatives from the list of narcotics.

The narcotic law was approved on December 9 yet allowed the therapeutic use of marijuana in Thailand. But the cannabis plant itself is still considered a forbidden drug like opium, hence creating a lot of confusion on the application of the law.

Now with the bill, cannabis and hemp as plants are removed from the list of narcotics. Extracts of marijuana will be considered narcotics, except for derivatives issued from domestic growth and products from industrial production with low levels of THC.

Products available on the market will not be able to have more than 0.2% of THC, which is similar to laws in European countries where the commercialization of CBD products is allowed.

Any industrial or commercial production would require a license. Authorities require that cannabis grows in Thailand and want to avoid the import of any marijuana. The Food and Drug Administration will draft a regulation for controlling cannabis plantations.

Marijuana will not be sold for recreational use but with the new law, the population will be able to grow cannabis at home for its own consumption. Moreover, if the law is passed, possession of marijuana would not be a crime anymore.

The draft announcement will be sent for approval to the Office of Narcotics Control Board on January 25. Then, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul will sign the bill off and pass it into law.

In 2021, Thailand also legalized kratom, an Asian tree whose leaves were used in herbal medicine until it was used as a substitute for opium in the 20th century.

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