CHIANG RAI – For decades, Thailand was one of America’s most resolute allies in the war on drugs, draft legislation permitting research into the effects of medicinal cannabis on humans will go to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) for passage into law.
Sirinya Sitdhichai, secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), was quoted by the Thai News Agency on Sunday as saying he expected the legislative process to completed this month.
The new draft narcotics law to be proposed to the Cabinet this month will allow the manufacturing, import, distribution, and possession of cannabis for research purposes and medical use.
The cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft drawn up by the panel led by the ONCB. The agency works closely with the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO). Dr Sophon is the GPO committee chairman.
The main thrust of the code is to allow research into the effects of cannabis on humans for medical benefit. It does not allow commercial production or recreational use. The ONCB will decide where the trial research will be conducted.
In April, Dr. Arthit Uraitat, the rector of Rangsit University, called on Thailand’s military leaders to legalize medical marijuana.
“Be brave. Let us use medical marijuana legally regardless of the method,” he said in a press conference, “Those who have cancer, they cannot wait. They need the help now, so I think we need to take every shortcut possible.”
Thai Cannabis Corporation announced the start of a five-year cannabis project that will cultivate 5,000 hectares (12,355 acres) of the plant in the next five years.
According to the Diplomat, The Royal Project Foundation will oversee this effort and Maejo University will provide research support. Thai Cannabis Corporation’s objective is to establish a low-cost model to grow, harvest, and process cannabis plants into oils and extracts. Initially, they will focus on breeding high CBD (cannabidiol) cannabis strains that contain minimal amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in order to comply with the laws of Thailand.
“The mission of the Royal Project Foundation is to research and develop appropriate technology to sustainability improve the quality of life for Thailand’s highland communities.
The Royal Project Foundation was established and funded by King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1969. An early advocate of sustainable farming, the king sought to improve the quality of life of Thailand’s hill tribes by replacing opium with other crops and also revitalizing Thailand’s forests and safeguarding their water resources for future generations.
Cannabis fits very neatly into the Royal Project Foundation’s mandate given that Thailand’s hill tribes were once the world’s premier marijuana growers. The nation is already exporting packaged food, beverages, essential oils brands, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and cosmetics. Why not marijuana?
While the Thai Cannabis Corporation hopes to include the marijuana that Thailand was once world famous for in their product line, they will only go as rapidly as the law and Thai government will allow. “The mission of the Thai Cannabis Corporation,” said CEO Timothy Luton, “is to provide an excellent return to shareholders by partnering with Thailand’s farmers and scientific researchers to make, at high volumes and affordable prices, cannabis products that are above reproach.”
Thailand’s slow shift towards marijuana legalization stands in stark contrast to America’s anarchic “Green Rush,” the greatest exhibition of human greed since gold was discovered in California in 1849.