Thai Cabinet OKs expanding access to cannabis; Parliament vote needed

Thailand’s Cabinet on Tuesday approved a proposal from the Public Health Ministry that would allow health professionals, farmers and medical patients to grow, produce and export medical cannabis and its products.

Deputy government spokeswoman Trisulee Trisaranakul said Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul submitted a draft amendment to the Narcotics Act to expand access to medical cannabis in Thailand.

The draft amendment would allow patients who are certified by doctors as well as farmers and traditional and applied medicine professionals to ask for permission from the ministry to produce, import, export, distribute and possess cannabis, she said.

The existing law allows only government units and those who are involved in medical cannabis development with permission from the ministry to engage in activities to develop medical knowledge in collaboration with the government.

The draft law would also hand responsibility to the Public Health Ministry to use seized cannabis for medical use.

The draft will be sent to the Council of State for legal scrutiny and fine-tuning and then to Parliament for a vote.

Thailand’s Legislature in 2018 amended the country’s drug law to allow the licensed medical use of cannabis as well as kratom, a locally grown plant traditionally used as a stimulant and painkiller.

By 2024, it is estimated that the Southeast Asian country’s wholesale medical cannabis market could be worth $46 million to $312 million, depending on a wide range of factors.

– Associated Press