Thailand medical marijuana program
Thailand medical marijuana program

From Canning to Cannabis -Thailand Embraces Medical Marijuana as Patient List Explodes

Thailand, once home to the toughest drug laws in Asia, embraces medical marijuana

Posted by:
Lemon Knowles on Thursday Oct 14, 2021

Thailand Continues To Embrace Medical Cannabis as Patient Lists Grow Bigger

thailand medical marijuana

Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to legalize cannabis for medical use in 2019. This historical moment came during a time when all other countries in Southeast Asia were sticking to their harsh laws which regulated cannabis within their borders.

In Other parts of their world, medical cannabis has been available for a very long time, with lawmakers and advocates vying to introduce recreational cannabis to the mix. Southeast Asia has to be the most indifferent region on the legalization of cannabis. For example, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia have a law that subjects illegal marijuana traffickers to the death penalty.

The little show of support for cannabis in Southeast Asia has allowed Thailand to have an upper hand in the region's medical cannabis industry—it is at the forefront.

Since medical cannabis was legalized about three years ago, the country has moved in no time to make up for the delayed legislation.


Thailand's Medical Cannabis Legislation

Medical cannabis legislation is usually the first baby step to be taken by a country. Thailand packaged this development as a New Year's gift to its residents in December 2018.

It went from being supported for one of the strictest drug violations punishments to growing the drug for medical, as well as economical reasons.

In the early parts of this year, the government finally approved the personal cultivation of up to six cannabis plants per household. This was a major step, as many other countries still do not permit this.

Traisulee Traisoranakul, the deputy spokeswoman for Thailand, defended the new amendment and said that everyone in the country retains the right to grow cannabis, as long as they are partnered with a provincial hospital for its medical use. This means that anyone that wants to be included in this scheme has to receive approval from the government before going ahead to plant.

The Narcotic Act of 1979 was amended to decriminalize the use of cannabis. Thailand has since established a hemp grow center for medical research in Chiang Mai province.


A Desire To Boost Local Economies

Making medical cannabis a top government priority in Thailand has done a lot to boost the country's total national economic value by about $2 billion. Different market segments are influenced by the emerging medical cannabis industry.

In the few years that the industry has been operating, over 700 licenses have been issued by the regulatory body for cultivation, extraction, and distribution. However, the country has favored public companies over private companies.

The government is on a mission to ensure patients, farmers, researchers, tourists, and other domestic businesses benefit from the medical cannabis industry. While this has sprung up different controversies, the authorities are focused on protecting the medical cannabis market from big pharmaceutical companies, and theft of intellectual property.

Thailand is capitalizing on being the first cannabis legalized country to make adjustments that better position them as the most vital player in the region's cannabis market. This ambition is further amplified by the country's status as one of the strongest export countries within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) free trade area.


A Loan Program for Cannabis Farmers

Cannabis farmers who need help starting a cannabis business can now apply for government loans.

Last month, the government instructed the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) to offer loans to intending cultivators within the county. It was reported that the new loan program is in line with the government's search for a better alternative to the cultivation of rice, cassava, and rubber trees.

For the first three years, these farmers are required to repay the loan at an annual interest rate of 0.01%. For a country whose cannabis legislation is less than five years, this is a progressive development that shows how rigid the U.S banking reforms are. In the United States, banks are prohibited from offering any form of traditional services to cannabis businesses. Cannabis companies are unable to register with these banks, neither can they get access to credit.

With a minuscule interest rate attached to its loan program, Thailand appears prepared to take on the cannabis industry.


Videos To Advertise Medical Cannabis In Thailand

Thailand is going about its business in a way other cannabis legal countries have chosen not to.

In addition to the controversy surrounding bank loans, more controversies surround the government's promotion of medical cannabis.

In countries like Canada and United States where medical cannabis is legalized, it is a criminal act to advertise the product on social platforms. The government of Thailand says it is not going to be a stumbling block to the industry and instead encourages operators to advertise their products with videos. The government itself is currently promoting its videos to spread information about the emerging cannabis industry. It hopes to clear the stigma associated with cannabis use in little time.

In one of its recent videos which was uploaded on YouTube, the government stated that the country excels in generating massive revenue while providing medical and health services at affordable rates to citizens.

As it stands, the government plans to promote Thailand's medical cannabis program to boost the nation's tourist presence and economy. To do this, it must advertise its medical cannabis and spread the word far and wide while ensuring that all provisions in the policy are adhered to.


Bottom Line

Removing specific varieties of hemp and cannabis from the category 5 narcotic drugs for medical reasons is one of the best decisions any country can make right now.

The cannabis industry is a gold mine that can do more than enough to boost an economy, especially if all cards are played right.

Thailand is not only generating revenues for all its residents, it is intentionally positioning itself at the right side of history.

Very few countries are embracing cannabis reforms on the same level as Thailand.

The methods and techniques being used to implement the cannabis reforms in Thailand will serve as a glowing example for other Southeast Asian countries to copy.



Thailand legalizes medical marijuana





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